In late November, we shared the preliminary results from a survey of interventional cardiologists sponsored by Corindus on the topic of occupational hazards in the cath lab. We set out to investigate current perspectives and concerns on the health risks of radiation exposure, as well as the potential for orthopedic injury due to the heavy, protective gear worn during invasive cardiovascular procedures.
Today – we share our full findings. First, an overarching key point in the survey results indicated that 82% of respondents believe interventional cardiology carries higher risk of injury from radiation exposure or orthopedic strain than other medical specialties. In terms of radiation in particular, 90% considered the harmful exposure a risk to their long-term health, with 26% believing their careers will be shortened because of it. Other studies show that interventional cardiologists receive the highest amount of radiation exposure of any medical professional. Beyond risks from radiation exposure, 86% of respondents cited orthopedic strain as a significant risk to their long-term health and 42% felt it would negatively impact their career longevity.
The concerns of physicians are validated by recent findings suggesting links between radiation exposure and prevalence of left-sided brain tumors as well as higher incidence of spine issues among interventionalists with careers spanning beyond 20 years. These details and more are illustrated in the infographic below.
The issue of occupational hazards for interventional cardiologists is one of immediate significance. It is in the best interest of hospitals and healthcare organizations (and the patients they serve) to ensure their physicians don’t become patients themselves – simply as a result of doing their jobs. The safety and health of care givers must be secured and protected, which is why combating occupational hazards in the cath lab is more important than ever.