The imaging modality as cardiac computed tomography (CT) and fluoroscopy, cardiac catheterization and angiography, heart rhythm abnormalities invasive tests and nuclear stress tests are performed under the ionizing radiation. Among the imaging modalities which do not expose patients to ionizing radiation are echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance.

“In general, the radiation-related risk of any imaging test to an individual patient is very small and, when the test is clinically appropriate, the benefits of the test typically far outweigh any potential risks,” stated Reza Fazel, M.D., M.Sc., chair of the writing committee for the statement and an AHA volunteer currently serving on the Joint Cardiac Imaging Committee of the AHA’s Council on Clinical Cardiology and Council on Cardiovascular Radiology. He said that patients should feel comfortable to ask how the medical imaging test will help him and the possible risks, including radiation-related risks.

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement about heart imaging in an effort to reduce unneeded radiation exposure because the use of diagnostic cardiovascular imaging as valuable lifesaving tool has increased dramatically in recent years.

According to the statement, with the development of medical technology the imaging tests have become an increasingly important tool in diagnosing and treating patients with heart disease and accounts for almost 40 percent of the radiation exposure that patients receive from medical tests.

The AHA provides the guidance for the training of professionals who order or administer cardiac imaging tests with request to consider the test’s diagnostic accuracy, potential risks, availability, cost and the patient’s convenience before prescribing.