Chronic radiodermatitis following cardiac catheterization

Arch Dermatol. 1996 Jun;132(6):663-7.


Background: Fluoroscopy and cineradiography used during coronary angiography expose patients to some of the highest doses of ionizing radiation in diagnostic radiology. The possibility of radiation-induced damage has been discussed by several authors in the past. However, to the best of our knowledge, chronic radiation dermatitis caused by exposure to x-rays during cardiac catheterization has not been described.

Observations: We describe 4 patients in whom chronic radiodermatitis developed following multiple cardiac catheterizations and coronary angioplasties. The cumulative radiation doses to which these patients were exposed were retrospectively calculated to be a mean of 24.6 Gy per patient, with a range of 11.4 to 34.9 Gy.

Conclusions: Chronic radiodermatitis is a threat in patients undergoing multiple cardiac catheterizations and angioplasties. In susceptible patients, radiation doses as small as 11.4 Gy, which can sometimes be emitted during 1 or 2 procedures, are potentially harmful. Awareness and protective measures against this long-term side effect of cardiac catheterization should be encouraged.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiac Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Catheterization / statistics & numerical data
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiodermatitis / etiology*