Cardiac imaging modalities with ionizing radiation: the role of informed consent


Aurora Cardiovascular Services, Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers


Informed consent ideally results in patient autonomy and rational health care decisions. Frequently, patients face complex medical decisions that require a delicate balancing of anticipated benefits and potential risks, which is the concept of informed consent. This balancing process requires an understanding of available medical evidence and alternative medical options, and input from experienced physicians. The informed consent doctrine places a positive obligation on physicians to partner with patients as they try to make the best decision for their specific medical situation. The high prevalence and mortality related to heart disease in our society has led to increased cardiac imaging with modalities that use ionizing radiation. This paper reviews how physicians can meet the ideals of informed consent when considering cardiac imaging with ionizing radiation, given the limited evidence for risks and benefits. The goal is an informed patient making rational choices based on available medical information.

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