Variability in Fluoroscopic X-Ray Exposure in Contemporary Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories

Warren K. Laskey, Merrill Wondrow, David R. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study sought to assess fluoroscopic exposure rates in contemporary cardiac catheterization laboratories (CCL). Background: Increasing attention is being focused on X-ray exposure during diagnostic and therapeutic cardiovascular procedures. Methods: We measured fluoroscopic exposure rates (R/min) in 41 systems using a standardized methodology (National Electrical Manufacturers Association XR21 phantom). Measurements were obtained at 2 different phantom thicknesses to simulate varying patient body habitus. Results: Fluoroscopic exposure rates under medium (median 3.0 R/min, interquartile range 1.4 R/min) and large (median 12.5 R/min, interquartile range 4.8 R/min) habitus conditions showed substantial variation. Fluoroscopic exposure was associated with simulated patient habitus, X-ray system type, vendor, and geographic region. Under medium habitus conditions, only 25% of systems operated within a zone of lower than average exposure rates and satisfactory image quality; this frequency diminished to 7% under large habitus conditions (p < 0.001). Conclusions: There is substantial variation (4- to 6-fold) in fluoroscopic exposure rates. This variation was not consistently associated with improved image quality. In the absence of a predictable benefit of higher (or lower) than average exposure rates, CCL quality improvement programs must minimize such potentially harmful variability in X-ray exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1361-1364
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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