Cardiac imaging and cancer risk

Patients who have myocardial infarctions (MI) may need to undergo a lot of imaging, such as angiography. Research from Canada suggests this imaging increases the risk of cancer.

The research studied 82,861 patients admitted with acute MI over a decade. It excluded those with a history of cancer.

The patients had a median age of 63.2 years and 68.3% were men. They were divided into five groups depending on their exposure to investigations using ionising radiation.

Most of the radiation exposure was in the first year following the MI. Each patient received a total of 5.3 milliSieverts (mSv) per year, mostly from invasive procedures such as percutaneous coronary interventions and myocardial perfusion studies.

During the follow-up, there were 12,020 cancers found. Most developed in the thorax, abdomen and pelvis.