OBJECTIVES: Patients exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction may be at increased risk of cancer.
METHODS:Â Using an administrative database, we selected a cohort of patients who had an acute myocardial infarction between April 1996 and March 2006 and no history of cancer. We documented all cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures involving low-dose ionizing radiation. The primary outcome was risk of cancer. Statistical analyses were performed using a time-dependent Cox model adjusted for age, sex and exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation from noncardiac imaging to account for work-up of cancer.
RESULTS: Of the 82 861 patients included in the cohort, 77% underwent at least one cardiac imaging or therapeutic procedure involving low-dose ionizing radiation in the first year after acute myocardial infarction. The cumulative exposure to radiation from cardiac procedures was 5.3 milli Sieverts (mSv) per patient-year, of which 84% occurred during the first year after acute myocardial infarction. A total of 12 020 incident cancers were diagnosed during the follow-up period. There was a dose-dependent relation between exposure to radiation from cardiac procedures and subsequent risk of cancer. For every 10 mSv of low-dose ionizing radiation, there was a 3% increase in the risk of age- and sex-adjusted cancer over a mean follow-up period of five years (hazard ratio 1.003 per milliSievert, 95% confidence interval 1.002-1.004).
CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction is associated with an increased risk of cancer.