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Heart attack patients get high radiation dose

Medical imaging can add up to exposure similar to what nuclear power plant workers experience

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6:02pm, November 16, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. — The first large study to examine cumulative radiation exposure from medical imaging after a heart attack has found that the average patient receives the equivalent of about 725 chest X-rays before leaving the hospital. That’s about one-third the maximum radiation dose allowed for a nuclear power plant worker in a given year.

Whether this is enough radiation to be a cancer risk is unclear, the researchers say, but the information should be sobering for physicians and patients.

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