Few cardiologists take steps to avoid radiation exposure during pregnancy despite concerns

The Women in Cardiology (WIC) section of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) report that 47% of female cardiologists have avoided being pregnant during periods when they would be exposed to radiation, but 57% have been exposed to radiation while pregnant. Furthermore, only 20% used foetal radiation badges and only 24% used additional lead when exposed to radiation during pregnancy.

Amy Sarma (Department of Cardiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA) and others state, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a survey has indicated that only 21% of general cardiology fellows are female and this figure drops to 8% for interventional cardiology fellows. They add that another survey suggested that female cardiologists are less likely than their male counterparts to be married or to have children and have differential childcare roles (ie. more likely to be the main caregiver). “However, the experience of pregnancy among cardiologists has never been investigated, although it is speculated that concerns surrounding pregnancy may deter women from choosing a career in cardiology”. Therefore, they sought to determine the “impact of a career in cardiology on the issues of family planning to better understand the current experience and inform strategies for reform”.

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