Background: Interventional cardiologists and staff are subject to unique physical demands that predispose them to distinct occupational health hazards not seen in other medical disciplines.
Methods: To characterize the prevalence of these occupational health problems, The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) surveyed its members by email. Inquiries included age, years of invasive practice, and diagnostic and interventional cases per year. Questions focused on orthopedic (spine, hips, knees, and ankles) and radiation-associated problems (cataracts and cancers).
Results: There were 314 responses. Responders were on average busy and experienced, performing a mean of 380±249 diagnostic and 200±129 interventional cases annually. Of the responders, 6.9% of operators have had to limit their caseload because of radiation exposure and 9.3% have had a health-related period of absence. Furthermore, 153 (49.4%) operators reported at least one orthopedic injury: 24.7% cervical spine disease, 34.4% lumbar spine problems, and 19.6% hip, knee or ankle joint problems. Age was most significantly correlated with orthopedic illnesses: cervical injuries (χ2=150.7, P<0.0001); hip/knee or ankle injuries (χ2=80.9, P<0.0001); lumbar injuries (χ2=147.0, P<0.0001); and any orthopedic illness (χ2= 241.2, P<0.0001). Annual total caseload was also associated: the estimated change in the odds of orthopedic illness for each additional total caseload quintile is 1.0013 (1.0001, 1.0026). There is a small but substantial incidence of cancer.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with, and extend the findings, of a prior 2004 SCAI survey, in documenting a substantial prevalence of orthopedic complications among active interventional cardiologists, which persists despite increased awareness.
Keywords: 3D/digital subtraction/radiation; angiographic systems; radiation physics/dosimetry; translational studies.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.