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.