Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 148-152

Do current radiation safety guidelines allow the safe release of a thyroid cancer patient after high-dose radioiodine therapy? An Indian perspective

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sanjay Gambhir
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.ijnm_210_20

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Aim: Radionuclide therapy may produce a significant radiation exposure risk to the patient's caregivers. The study aims to assess the radiation exposure rate to caregivers after the patient's discharge from the isolation ward. Materials and Methods: Patients of the well-Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) were given high-dose radioiodine therapy as an inpatient. Their radiation exposure was measured daily, and they were discharged once the exposure rate falls as per standard guidelines. Detail counseling of the patient and caregiver about radiation safety was done before admission and at the time of discharge. Caregivers were given thermoluminescence dosimeter (TLD) to wear as a locket for 7 days. Radiation exposure received by the caregiver was measure after that. Results: A total of 22 patients (8 male and 14 female) of DTC were recruited in the study. The mean age was 39.0 ± 14.5 years. Patients were treated with 3.79 ± 1.07 (102.4 ± 28.9 mCi) (1.85–5.55 (50–150 mCi) GBq of radioiodine. They were discharged from the isolation ward at a radiation level of 0.028 ± 0.015 mSv/h (3.193 ± 1.71 mR). The mean effective dose received by the caregiver was 14.60 ± 3.43 mSv (1460 ± 343 mR) (9.73–24.25 (973–2765 mR) mSv. Conclusion: Our study denotes that the caregivers of DTC patients receive a significant radiation dose. It was well above the caregiver's annual dose-limit constraints regarding the rationales well as international guidelines of 5 mSv/yr. These could be related to the long travel in public transport and housing conditions. There is a need for patient-specific discharge criteria rather than following standard guidelines to minimize radiation exposure to caregivers.

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