Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is the single medical test with the highest radiation burden to the US population. While many patients undergoing MPI receive repeat MPI testing, or additional procedures involving ionizing radiation, no data are available characterizing their total longitudinal radiation burden and relating radiation burden with reasons for testing.
To characterize procedure counts, cumulative estimated effective doses of radiation, and clinical indications, for patients undergoing MPI.
Design, Setting, Patients
Retrospective cohort study evaluating, for 1097 consecutive patients undergoing index MPI during the first 100 days of 2006 at Columbia University Medical Center, all preceding medical imaging procedures involving ionizing radiation undergone beginning October 1988, and all subsequent procedures through June 2008, at that center.
Main Outcome Measures
Cumulative estimated effective dose of radiation, number of procedures involving radiation, and indications for testing.
Patients underwent a median (interquartile range, mean) of 15 (6–32, 23.9) procedures involving radiation exposure; 4 (2–8, 6.5) were high-dose (≥3 mSv, i.e. one year's background radiation), including 1 (1–2, 1.8) MPI studies per patient. 31% of patients received cumulative estimated effective dose from all medical sources >100mSv. Multiple MPIs were performed in 39% of patients, for whom cumulative estimated effective dose was 121 (81–189, 149) mSv. Men and whites had higher cumulative estimated effective doses, and there was a trend towards men being more likely to undergo multiple MPIs than women (40.8% vs. 36.6%, Odds ratio 1.29, 95% confidence interval 0.98–1.69). Over 80% of initial and 90% of repeat MPI exams were performed in patients with known cardiac disease or symptoms consistent with it.
In this institution, multiple testing with MPI was very common, and in many patients associated with very high cumulative estimated doses of radiation.