UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: non-invasive cardiac imaging and radiation

Keywords: radiation, coronary artery disease, stress testing, cardiac testing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/29/2012 by Amal Mattu, MD
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Here's some numbers to consider regarding typical radiation exposre associated with cardiac imaging tests relative to naturally occurring background radiation exposure:

Test type                                                                                     Relative exposure       
Naturally occurring annual background radiation
   exposure for a person living in the US (~ 3 mSv)                                  1
Coronary artery calcium score                                                                0.5
Cardiac CT angiography                                                                         1-4
Nuclear stress test (single-photon emission CT)                                       3-4
Exercise treadmiil testing (with no imaging)                                             0
Cardiac MRI/echocardiogram                                                                   0

[above estimates are typical, but may vary between individuals and among different centers]


Blankstein R. Introduction to noninvasive cardiac imaging. Circulation 2012;125:e267-3271.