Radiation dose rates from patients undergoing PET: implications for technologists and waiting areas

Eur J Nucl Med. 2000 May;27(5):583-9. doi: 10.1007/s002590050546.


Increasingly hospitals are showing an interest in developing their imaging services to include positron emission tomography (PET). There is therefore a need to be aware of the radiation doses to critical groups. To assess the effective whole-body dose received by technologists within our dedicated PET centre, each staff member was issued with a dose rate meter, and was instructed to record the time spent in contact with any radioactive source, the dose received per working day and the daily injected activity. On average each technologist administered 831 MBq per day. The mean whole-body dose per MBq injected was 0.02 microSv/MBq(-1). The average time of close contact (<2.0 m) with a radioactive source per day was 32 min. The average effective dose per minute close contact was 0.5 microSv/min(-1), which resulted in a mean daily effective dose of 14.4 microSv. No technologist received greater than 60 microSv (the current UK limit for non-classified workers) in any one day, and in general doses received were less than 24 microSv, the daily dose corresponding to the proposed new annual limit for non-classified workers of 6.0 mSv per annum. However, we recognise that the layout of nuclear medicine departments will not mirror our own. We therefore measured the instantaneous dose rates at 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 m from the mid-thorax on 115 patients immediately after injection, to provide estimates of the likely effective doses that might be received by technologists operating dual-headed coincidence detection systems, and others coming into contact in the waiting room with patients who have been injected with fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose. The mean (95th percentile) dose rates measured at the four aforementioned distances were 391.7 (549.5), 127.0 (199.8), 45.3 (70.0) and 17.1 (30.0) microSv/h(-1), respectively. A number of situations have been modelled showing that, with correct planning, FDG studies should not significantly increase the effective doses to technologists. However, one possible area of concern is that, depending on the number of patients in a waiting area at any one time, accompanying persons may approach the limits set by the new UK IRR 1999 regulations for members of the public.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Whole-Body Counting


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18