Radiation from heart imaging: What you need to know

Certain tests involve small amounts of radiation. Here's some perspective on the benefits and risks.

Cardiologists have many options for visualizing the heart, some of which involve exposure to radiation. Used appropriately, these tests can identify possibly life-threatening conditions, such as dangerous heart artery blockages. In recent years, the accuracy of many of these noninvasive tests has increased. They're also being used with increasing frequency.

Because ionizing radiation can damage cells, potentially raising the risk of cancer, experts acknowledge that imaging tests that involve radiation should be used judiciously. Earlier this year, the American College of Cardiology published a consensus statement on the best practices for safe and effective use of radiation in cardiac imaging tests.

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