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

ssed within the report and to increase awareness in the medical community.

As this study points out, not all facilities are as well informed as they should be, and they are not doing the best they can to inform patients, says Henry Royal, former SNM president and an expert in radiation safety. It is important that patients who find themselves in these rare situations are fully informed and have contact cards to work cooperatively with security officials, added Royal. At Washington University, we have three preprinted wallet-size travel cards (radioiodine, sestamibi/thallium, miscellaneous) that we give to patients who receive therapeutic doses of I-131 or who are planning to travel in the days to weeks following a diagnostic procedure, said Royal, a professor of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and associate director of nuclear medicine at its Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

Federal regulations and guidelines describe when and how licensed health care facilities can release patients following a nuclear medicine procedure and address the safety instructions that facilities must provide to patients or to their parents or guardians to ensure that doses to other individuals remain as low as is reasonably achievable. Since 2003, NRC supplemented these guidelines with a notice reminding health care professionals that released patients need to know the importance of following instructions so that a dose to other individuals can be maintained low and that the likelihood of triggering radiation alarms is reduced. The NRC suggests voluntary actions that health care professionals can take with every released patient whose body contains detectable amounts of radiation after receiving diagnostic or therapeutic quantities of radiopharmaceuticals or brachytherapy implants. These actions should include explaining to patients the potential to trigger radiation monitoring alarms and providing them with written information for
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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