Cumulative exposure to medical sources of ionizing radiation in the first year after pediatric heart transplantation

Alicia McDonnell, Tacy E. Downing, Xiaowei Zhu, Rachel Ryan, Joseph W. Rossano, Andrew C. Glatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


attendant risK or exposure to ionizing raaiation. we sougnt to quantity ano describe me cumulative exposure to all forms of medical radiation during the first year after pediatric heart transplantation and identify factors associated with higher exposure.

Methods: Pediatric patients who received a heart transplant between January 2009 and May 2012 with follow-up at our institution were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were included if they survived through 1 year and the first coronary angiography. All medical testing using ionizing radiation performed during follow-up was compiled, and exposures were converted to effective dose (mSv).

Results: Included were 31 patients who underwent heart transplantation at a median age of 13.6 years (range, 0.3 18.3 years). The median number of radiologic tests performed was 38 (range, 18 154), including 8 catheterizations (range, 2 12), and 28 X-ray images (range, 11 135). Median cumulative effective dose was 53.5 mSv (range, 10.6 153.5 mSv), of which 91% (range, 34% 98%) derived from catheterizations, 31% (range, 8% 89%) of the exposure occuned during the transplant admission, 59% (range, 11% 88%) during planned follow-up, and 3% (0% 56%) during unplanned follow-up. Older age at transplant was a risk factor for increased exposure (p = 0.006). When adjusted for age, a trend toward increased exposure was shown for congenital heart disease as the indication for transplant (p = 0.08), pre-sensitization (p = 0.12), and positive crossmatch (p = 0.09).

Conclusions: Pediatric heart transplant patients are exposed to significant amounts of ionizing radiation during the first post-transplant year, most during scheduled catheterization. As survival improves, considering the long-term risks associated with these levels of exposure is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1126-1132
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • cumulative exposure
  • ionizing radiation
  • pediatric heart transplant
  • radiologic tests


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