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

Abstract

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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