Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Working with radiation in pregnancy: a guide for cardiologists
  1. Alice Wood,
  2. Shazia T Hussain
  1. Cardiology Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alice Wood, Cardiology Department, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester LE3 9QP, UK; work.alw{at}

Statistics from

Women remain under-represented in cardiology and one frequently cited concern is that of radiation exposure in pregnancy.1

This article aims to clarify the actual risks of radiation to pregnant cardiologists and to describe how these risks can be mitigated.

X-rays are at the short-wave end of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce high-frequency energy which can ionise atoms. The effective dose is measured in Sievert, defined as the whole-body dose weighted by organ sensitivity. In pregnancy, there are concerns about the risk of radiation to the fetus and also less recognised risks to the mother.

The mean background dose of radiation in the UK is 2.2 mSv/year,2 and the total occupational dose permitted for the fetus in pregnancy in the UK and Europe is 1 mSv,3 with a higher limit of 5 mSv in the USA.4 In most cases, the actual dose is far lower than this. A series of five operators performing interventional and electrophysiology procedures during pregnancy …

View Full Text


  • Twitter @ShaziaTHussain1

  • Contributors AW had the idea for the article, did the literature search and wrote the first draft. STH reviewed the article and contributed significantly to the content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, conduct, reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.