Total Body Radiation Survey with Modified Hospital Nuclear Medicine Equipment

  • Recent research suggests that in certain mass casualty radiation emergencies, nuclear medicine department gamma cameras may be modified to identify patients who are internally contaminated with some high energy gamma-emitting isotopes.
    • Preliminary guidance on how to do this for several instruments has been developed by the CDC1
  • Gamma camera modifications should be considered only after the patient has undergone adequate external decontamination, and care must be taken not to contaminate the equipment
  • Gamma camera scanning will not be useful if patients have internal contamination with beta or alpha-emitting isotopes
  • In order to attempt detection of internal contamination with gamma-emitting isotopes of concern, the hardware and software of the gamma camera will need to be modified
    • Modification of each gamma camera and its software is different
    • Caution should be exercised because some warranties may be voided if these modifications are done
  • If hospitals and providers expect to use modified gamma cameras during an actual emergency, all procedures and quality assurance should be practiced and validated carefully prior to use in actual patient care situations.

References:

  1. Use of Radiation Detection, Measuring, and Imaging Instruments to Assess Internal Contamination from Inhaled Radionuclides (CDC, Radiation Studies Branch)
  2. Dose assessment of inhaled radionuclides in emergency situations (Public Health England [PHE], formerly Health Protection Agency [HPA]/United Kingdom and Treatment Initiatives After Radiological Accidents (TIARA) project/European Commission, August 2007)
  3. Management of Persons Contaminated with Radionuclides: Handbook (NCRP Report No. 161, Vol. I), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, 2008, Bioassay (p. 152).
  4. Management of Persons Contaminated with Radionuclides: Scientific and Technical Bases (NCRP Report No. 161, Vol. II), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, 2010, Instrumentation and Modeling for Assessment of Internal Contamination (pp. 802-804).
  5. Deposition, retention and dosimetry of inhaled radioactive substances (NCRP Report No. 125), National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, MD, 1997.


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