BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency ablation may be associated with prolonged fluoroscopy times. Previous studies have calculated radiation risks by measuring the radiation dose at a limited number (6) of body sites. This is an inherently inaccurate measure. Our study aimed to quantify more precisely patient-related radiation risks associated with radiofrequency ablation for supraventricular tachycardia. METHODS and RESULTS: Nine female patients having radiofrequency ablation for supraventricular tachycardia were studied. The radiation dose was determined at 41 body sites in each patient with the use of thermoluminescent dosimeters and was correlated with that measured simultaneously with a Diamentor dose-area product meter. The estimated mean organ doses (mGy) per 60 minutes of fluoroscopy were: lungs 30.8; bone marrow 4.3; left breast 5.1; right breast 3. 5; and thyroid 2.4. From the average organ doses, the estimated mean total lifetime excess risk of a fatal malignancy was 294 per million cases (0.03%) per 60 minutes of fluoroscopy. The risk calculation from the Diamentor dose-area product and thermoluminescent dosimeters were similar, suggesting that radiation dose was measured accurately. The estimated risk of radiation-induced malignancy increased with increasing body mass index (P=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Prolonged fluoroscopy during radiofrequency ablation may potentially cause a small increase in the lifetime risk of fatal malignancy, with lung malignancy being most likely. This risk is small only with the use of techniques and x-ray equipment optimized to keep radiation as low as possible. The risk is increased in obese patients.
Kovoor, P., Ricciardello, M., Collins, L., Uther, J. B., & Ross, D. L. (1998). Risk to patients from radiation associated with radiofrequency ablation for supraventricular tachycardia. Circulation, 98(15), 1534–1540. https://doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.98.15.1534