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Increased cardiovascular disease risk after exposure to low dose radiation

BMJ 2023; 380 doi: (Published 08 March 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;380:e074589

Linked Research

Ionising radiation and cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis

  1. Anssi Auvinen, professor of epidemiology 12
  1. 1Tampere University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Unit of Health Sciences,FI-33014 Tampere, Finland
  2. 2Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK), Environmental Radiation Surveillance, Vantaa, Finland
  1. Correspondence to: A Auvinen Anssi.auvinen{at}

These risks should now be considered in radiation protection measures and policies

In a linked BMJ article (doi:10.1136/bmj-2022-072924),1 Little and colleagues report the results of a large meta-analysis of 93 studies evaluating associations between a range of cardiovascular diseases and exposure to radiation in various settings (mostly radiotherapy and occupational exposures, but also diagnostic radiology and environmental exposures). The authors found robust evidence for a dose dependent increase in cardiovascular risks across a broad range of radiation doses. Key findings included a higher relative risk per dose unit at lower dose ranges (<0.1 Gy), and also for lower dose rates (protracted exposures over hours to years). The studies included in the meta-analysis were published mainly during the past decade. This new meta-analysis strengthens the evidence linking low dose radiation to risk of circulatory diseases and these risks should now be carefully considered in protection against radiation in medicine and elsewhere.

Radiation induced heart disease as a result of direct damage from high dose thoracic radiotherapy (including pericardial, coronary artery, and …

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