Management of ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses, part 4: acute radiation syndrome

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2014 Sep;114(9):702-11. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.138.


To provide proper medical care for patients after a radiation incident, it is necessary to make the correct diagnosis in a timely manner and to ascertain the relative magnitude of the incident. The present article addresses the clinical diagnosis and management of high-dose radiation injuries and illnesses in the first 24 to 72 hours after a radiologic or nuclear incident. To evaluate the magnitude of a high-dose incident, it is important for the health physicist, physician, and radiobiologist to work together and to assess many variables, including medical history and physical examination results; the timing of prodromal signs and symptoms (eg, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, transient incapacitation, hypotension, and other signs and symptoms suggestive of high-level exposure); and the incident history, including system geometry, source-patient distance, and the suspected radiation dose distribution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Radiation Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Acute Radiation Syndrome / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Radiometry
  • Severity of Illness Index