This research project studies radiation exposure among female interventional cardiologists. The study aims to accurately quantify underlead radiation doses to female interventional cardiologists working in the catheterization lab to allow estimation of likely fetal dose to pregnant cardiologists. There is a paucity of available data for female interventional cardiology trainees, fellows and interventional cardiologists regarding occupational radiation exposure and likely fetal risk when pregnant. In some European countries, a 1mSv limit throughout pregnancy is imposed by law.
In others, such as Italy, national law forbids entry to an area with occupational radiation and mandates immediate reporting of pregnancy. In American and Australasia, interventional cardiologists and trainees work throughout their pregnancies with monitoring of likely fetal dose and an American National council on radiation planning (NCRP) limit of 5mSv, or 0.5mSv per month. Available evidence suggests heritable or developmental risks to the fetus of pregnant interventional cardiology staff are extremely low, and similar to those of the general population where dose limits are adhered to.
However, evaluating the true risk of radiation exposure, while pregnant, from performing cardiac catheterization procedures remains challenging and this evidence gap may contribute in part to the underrepresentation of women in interventional cardiology. There is a paucity of contemporary data adequately demonstrating the radiation exposure to the uterus of interventional cardiologists and thereby the likely fetal dose in interventional cardiologists working in the cardiac catheterization laboratory.