Impact of Ionizing Radiation on the Cardiovascular System: A Review
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Radiation therapy has become one of the main forms of treatment for various types of cancers. Cancer patients previously treated with high doses of radiation are at a greater risk to develop cardiovascular complications later in life. The heart can receive varying doses of radiation depending on the type of therapy and can even reach doses in the range of 17 Gy. Multiple studies have highlighted the role of oxidative stress and inflammation in radiation-induced cardiovascular damage. Doses of ionizing radiation below 200 mGy, however, have been shown to have beneficial effects in some experimental models of radiation-induced damage, but low-dose effects in the heart is still debated. Low-dose radiation may promote heart health and reduce damage from oxidative stress and inflammation, however there are few studies focusing on the impact of low-dose radiation on the heart. In this review, we summarize recent studies from animal models and human data focusing on the effects and mechanism(s) of action of radiation-induced damage to the heart, as well as the effects of high and low doses of radiation and dose rates.
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