Table 3

Possible Text for Physician–Patient Interaction About Radiation Dose From Cardiac Imaging Procedures

Effective Dose Level for Protocol (mSv)Suggested Language
≤3The test you are about to have provides useful information about your health. This test uses radiation to provide this information.
We are all exposed to radiation from natural sources every day. The small amount of radiation to a typical patient from today's test is less than what most Americans are exposed to from their surroundings during 1 year of their life. The risk of this procedure is very low.
>3–20The test you are about to have provides useful information about your health. This test uses radiation to provide this information.
We are all exposed to radiation from natural sources every day. The amount of radiation to a typical patient from today's test is similar to or greater than what most Americans are exposed to every year from their surroundings. However, it is similar to or less than the maximum that is recommended in a typical year for people exposed to radiation as part of their job.
Although experts are not certain, some evidence suggests that there may be a very small increase in your risk of developing cancer at a later age, related to the radiation from this test. This risk is considered to be similar to the risks of many everyday activities and medical procedures.
Your healthcare provider believes that the benefits of this test outweigh this small potential risk.
You may have had tests that used radiation in the past. To the best of our current knowledge, your risk from today's test is not affected by how much radiation you have received from previous tests.
>20–50The test that you are about to have provides useful information about your health. This test uses radiation to provide this information.
We are all exposed to radiation from natural sources every day. The amount of radiation to a typical patient from today's test is greater than what most Americans are exposed to every year from their surroundings. It is also greater than what is recommended for people exposed to radiation in a typical year as part of their job. Although experts are not certain, some evidence suggests that there may be a small increase in your risk of developing cancer at a later age, related to the radiation from this test.
Your healthcare provider believes that the benefits of this test outweigh this small potential risk of developing cancer.
You may have had tests that used radiation in the past. To the best of our current knowledge, your risk from today's test is not affected by how much radiation you have received from previous tests.
  • Note that dose levels are those for a typical patient undergoing the protocol; the concept of effective dose is not designed for patient-level dosimetry, and doses to individual patients may vary on the basis of patient-specific characteristics such as weight, habitus, heart rate, and so on.

  • Text is provided only for protocols with effective doses up to 50 mSv. No cardiac imaging procedure in a general population should have a typical effective dose of more than 50 mSv. If a physician anticipates such a level of radiation, the physician–patient interaction needs to be carefully tailored to the patient, test, and clinical scenario.