Comparison of measured and calculated dose rates near nuclear medicine patients

Health Phys. 2013 Aug;105(2):187-91. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e318290cc0e.


Widely used release criteria for patients receiving radiopharmaceuticals (NUREG-1556, Vol. 9, Rev.1, Appendix U) are known to be overly conservative. The authors measured external exposure rates near patients treated with I, Tc, and F and compared the measurements to calculated values using point and line source models. The external exposure dose rates for 231, 11, and 52 patients scanned or treated with I, Tc, and F, respectively, were measured at 0.3 m and 1.0 m shortly after radiopharmaceutical administration. Calculated values were always higher than measured values and suggested the application of "self-shielding factors," as suggested by Siegel et al. in 2002. The self-shielding factors of point and line source models for I at 1 m were 0.60 ± 0.16 and 0.73 ± 0.20, respectively. For Tc patients, the self-shielding factors for point and line source models were 0.44 ± 0.19 and 0.55 ± 0.23, and the values were 0.50 ± 0.09 and 0.60 ± 0.12, respectively, for F (all FDG) patients. Treating patients as unshielded point sources of radiation is clearly inappropriate. In reality, they are volume sources, but treatment of their exposures using a line source model with appropriate self-shielding factors produces a more realistic, but still conservative, approach for managing patient release.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / adverse effects
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Models, Biological
  • Nuclear Medicine*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiation Protection
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Iodine Radioisotopes