Occupational hazards of interventional cardiologists: prevalence of orthopedic health problems in contemporary practice

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2004 Dec;63(4):407-11. doi: 10.1002/ccd.20201.


Invasive cardiologists generally consider radiation to be the chief occupational hazard. Heavy leaded aprons worn to reduce this risk may be associated with orthopedic complications. This study was designed to characterize the prevalence of these occupational health problems. The Interventional Committee of the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) sent to its Internet-registered members a Web-based survey. Inquiries included age, years of invasive practice, and diagnostic/interventional cases/year. Questions (yes/no) focused on orthopedic (spine, hips, knees, and ankles) and radiation-associated problems (cataracts and cancers). The survey was sent to over 1,600 members with 424 responses. Responders were on average busy and experienced, performing catheterization > 10 years in 62% of cases and > 20 years in 24% others. Average annual diagnostic-only case load was > 200/year in 72%, > 300/year in 43%, and > 500/year in 18% of responders. Reported annual interventional caseload was > 100/year in 83%, > 200/year in 37%, and > 300/year in 15% of operators. Orthopedic problems included spine problems in 42% of responders (of these, 70% were lumbosacral and 30% cervical). Hip, knee, or ankle problems were noted in 28% of operators. Spine problems were related to the annual procedural caseload and the number of years in practice. Over one-third reported spine problems had caused them to miss work. The results of the radiation queries were inconclusive. These results document that interventional cardiologists commonly suffer orthopedic disease, frequently leading to lost work days.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiology*
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Radiology, Interventional*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workload