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Patients need to know that nuclear medicine procedures can trigger radiation alarms
Date:12/6/2007

tments; I-131 Bexxar cancer treatments; and brachytherapy. For the study, 89 health care professionals (including doctors, nuclear medicine technologists, radiation safety officers and physicists) were interviewed at large and small hospitals and outpatient-only clinics.

The study indicates that health care professionalsespecially in outpatient facilities and those performing only diagnostic procedurescan benefit from an outreach program, detailing the need to inform and counsel all released patients. Some standardization of basic instructions and documentation given to released patients would also be helpful, said Ansari. Patients should know the importance of following the instructions given to them by their caregivers. They should feel comfortable asking questions and be forthcoming if there are some instructions they may have difficulty following (such as minimizing time in public). If patients plan to travel, they should make sure they have documentation on hand specifying their procedure and that the documentation includes a contact phone number for verification, if necessary, he explained.

SNM has long advocated that its membersin offering high-quality careprovide patients with adequate information. This is particularly necessary in todays high-security environment, where patients of some procedures could incidentally trigger radiation alarms in urban centers, federal buildings or while traveling, said SNM President Alexander J. McEwan, who represents more than 16,000 doctors, technologists and scientists. This study shows that while many do provide information and special instructions to patients, there is still room for improvement and increased awareness, said the professor and chair of the Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Alberta, and director of oncologic imaging at Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Canada. He noted that the society works closely with the CDC and the U.S. government on the issues discu
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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