Reducing Fluoroscopic Radiation Exposure During Endomyocardial Biopsy in Pediatric Transplant Recipients

Gossett, J. G.; Sammet, C. L.; Agrawal, A.; Rychlik, K.; Wax, D. F.

Pediatr Cardiol. 2016 Nov 24; 38(2):308-313


Endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) with fluoroscopy is used for rejection surveillance in pediatric heart transplantation. Lowering frame rate may reduce radiation, but decreases temporal resolution and image quality. We undertook a quality initiative reducing frame rate from 10 frames per second (FPS) to 5 FPS. To assess whether lowering frame rate can reduce radiation exposure without compromising safety, data on EMBs from 9/2009 to 4/2013 without angiography or intervention were reviewed. Effective dose was calculated from dose area product (DAP) and fluoroscopy time. Complications were reviewed. Independent t test compared pre- and post-data and a general linear model were used to control for confounders. Paired t test of most proximate data was used for pts with EMB before and after our change. Eighty-six patients had 543 EMB. After adjusting for weight, attending, and presence of a fellow, the lower FPS group had a 60.3% reduction in DAP (p < 0.0001) and 53.8% drop in effective dose (p < 0.0001). Fluoroscopy time did not differ. Twenty-eight pts had EMBs both before and after the FPS change. Pair-wise analysis of this group demonstrated a 33% reduction in DAP (p < 0.05) and 37% drop in effective dose (p < 0.01), without difference in fluoroscopy time. No patient had an increase in TR > 1 grade by ECHO. There were no deaths or perforations. Lowering the frame rate reduces radiation exposure by >50% without compromising safety. Efforts to further minimize radiation exposure of this vulnerable population should be considered.

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