OBJECTIVE: This study sought to determine if DNA integrity was compromised by ionising radiation from paediatric cardiac catheterisations and if dose optimisation techniques allowed DNA integrity to be maintained. Materials and Methods: Children were imaged using either: (i) an anti-scatter grid (current departmental protocol), (ii) no anti-scatter grid or, (iii) no anti-scatter grid and a 15 cm air-gap between the child and the X-ray detector. Dose area product and image quality were assessed, lifetime attributable cancer risk estimates were calculated and DNA double-strand breakages quantified using the γH2AX assay. Results: Consent was obtained from 70 parents/guardians/children. Image quality was sufficient for each procedure performed. Removal of the anti-scatter grid resulted in dose reductions of 20% (no anti-scatter grid) and 30% (15 cm air-gap), DNA double-strand break reductions of 20% (no anti-scatter grid) and 30% (15 cm air-gap) and a reduction of radiation-induced cancer mortality risk of up to 45%. Conclusion: Radiation doses received during paediatric cardiac catheterisation procedures resulted in a significant increase in DNA damage while maintaining acceptable image quality and diagnostic efficacy. It is feasible to remove the anti-scatter grid resulting in a reduction in DNA damage to the patient. The γH2AX assay may be used for assessment of dose optimisation strategies in children.
- Journal Article