Risk for radiation-induced cataract for staff in interventional cardiology: is there reason for concern?

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2010 Nov 15;76(6):826-34. doi: 10.1002/ccd.22670.


Objectives: To examine the prevalence of radiation-associated lens opacities among interventional cardiologists and nurses and correlate with occupational radiation exposure.

Background: Interventional cardiology personnel are exposed to relatively high levels of X-rays and based on recent findings of radiation-associated lens opacities in other cohorts, they may be at risk for cataract without use of ocular radiation protection.

Methods: Eyes of interventional cardiologists, nurses, and age- and sex-matched unexposed controls were screened by dilated slit lamp examination and posterior lens changes graded using a modified Merriam-Focht technique. Individual cumulative lens X-ray exposure was calculated from responses to a questionnaire and personal interview.

Results: The prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens opacities was 52% (29/56, 95% CI: 35-73) for interventional cardiologists, 45% (5/11, 95% CI: 15-100) for nurses, and 9% (2/22, 95% CI: 1-33) for controls. Relative risks of lens opacity was 5.7 (95% CI: 1.5-22) for interventional cardiologists and 5.0 (95% CI: 1.2-21) for nurses. Estimated cumulative ocular doses ranged from 0.01 to 43 Gy with mean and median values of 3.4 and 1.0 Gy, respectively. A strong dose-response relationship was found between occupational exposure and the prevalence of radiation-associated posterior lens changes.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a dose dependent increased risk of posterior lens opacities for interventional cardiologists and nurses when radiation protection tools are not used. While study of a larger cohort is needed to confirm these findings, the results suggest ocular radio-protection should be utilized.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiology / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cataract / diagnosis
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Eye Protective Devices
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Radiation Protection / instrumentation
  • Radiography, Interventional / adverse effects*
  • Radiography, Interventional / nursing
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors