Have-A-Heart and Image Gently®

Kids with heart disease need special care.  And like all children, they are more sensitive to radiation.

So when these kids need imaging:

  • Whenever appropriate choose heart ultrasound, MRI or another exam that does not use radiation
  • Child-size CT, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine exams
  • And, during catheterization:

o   Lower the frame rate

o   Lower the magnification

o   Lower the camera

o   Limit field-of-view (collimate) and

o   Leave the anti-scatter grid out (in younger children)

Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, affecting an estimated one out of every 100 live births.  Worldwide an estimated 1.35 million children are born with congenital heart defects every year. Cardiomyopathies and other forms of acquired heart disease affect an additional one out of every 100,000 children and adolescents annually. Children with congenital and acquired heart disease often require complex medical care.  

They frequently have prolonged hospital stays and many require staged or repeated surgical interventions. The complexity of their care dictates that they are often exposed to a relatively high number of diagnostic medical imaging procedures involving ionizing radiation. In addition to diagnostic imaging, image-guided interventional procedures have become increasingly important in the care of children with congenital and acquired heart diseases with a substantial net increase in the average number of exposures per patient over the past two decades.  

Although these diagnostic and therapeutic procedures have contributed greatly to improved outcomes in children with congenital and acquired heart disease, concerns regarding the cumulative burden of ionizing radiation in these children dictate a need to optimize these medical imaging procedures to ensure that radiation doses are “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”.


Think-A-Head and Image Gently® 


The Image Gently Alliance is comprised of  nearly 100  imaging and health care organizations reaching over 1 million professionals committed to imaging excellence and safety.  The organizations that led this Initiative are: