Answer to Question #13532 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I had a medical procedure where I was exposed to radiation. The procedure involved the use of a mini C-arm. No protection was provided. I got pregnant one year after the exposure. My child was born with a rare genetic condition caused by a gene mutation. Could you tell me how likely it is that the genetic condition was caused by me being exposed to C-arm radiation?


I am sorry to hear that your child was born with a rare genetic condition. It is nearly impossible that the genetic mutation was caused by radiation exposure, as genetic changes passed to offspring have not been detected in humans, even when the parent was exposed to high doses. For more information on this topic see the 2006 report from the National Research Council.

Gene mutations occur spontaneously or may be induced by environmental factors, including many common chemicals. Radiation has been noted to increase the rate of gene mutations in animals such as mice; however, the doses used are much, much higher than you could have received. It is much more likely that the mutation was spontaneous or caused by something other than radiation.

Deirdre H. Elder, MS, CHP, CMLSO

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