Incorporation of Radioactive Material into Cells and Organs - Illustration
Wound Contamination with Radioactive Shrapnel
Via Respiratory Tract
Via Digestive Tract
Via Radioactive Dust in Open Wounds
After inhalation, ingestion, or wound contamination, small radioisotope particles may be transported via blood or lymphatics into cells, tissues, and organs.
Isotopes can be
Radioisotopes can be incorporated into one or more organs specific for that isotope
, (e.g. thyroid, lungs, kidneys, bones/bone marrow, or liver/spleen) resulting in exposure at that site.
Medical countermeasures called decorporation agents or other procedures
(e.g., diuresis) may be needed to remove radioisotopes that have been incorporated into tissues.
Toxic effects of radioisotopes may be due to their chemical and/or radiological properties.
How to diagnose
If after external decontamination, an appropriate
radiation survey meter
continues to identify significant residual radioactivity, suspect internal contamination.
Swab each nostril separately
to help estimate level of internal (lung) contamination
Collect ≥70 mL spot urine sample for isotope measurement
Instructions for sample collection, labeling, packaging and shipping
Consider total body radiation survey with modified hospital nuclear medicine equipment