Ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging procedures widely used on patients recovering from a heart attack might be a risk factor for future cancers, according to the results of a study released in a recent issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
More than three-quarters of the nearly 83,000 patients studied by the researchers received some type of diagnostic or therapeutic ionizing radiation procedure within a year of their heart attack. There was, they found, a "dose-dependent" relationship between the likelihood of cancers forming and amount of radiation given to a patient, meaning that more radiation was associated with higher cancer rates.
The report indicated that there were risks involved with even modest amounts of ionizing radiation.
"Even moderate levels of exposure were associated with an increased risk of cancer," the scientists wrote in their conclusion.
The study could be bad news for heart disease patients - who already are likely to receive higher life insurance quotes - given that it indicates a possible risk of yet another lethal disease.