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IAEA

Radiation protection of staff during PET/CT scanning

» Are members of the nursing and ancillary staff at risk when taking care of patients after PET/CT examination?

No, there is no significant risk to the staff taking care of these patients. 
Radiation from patients undergoing other diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclide procedures such as bone scans or radioiodine therapy may pose a risk of radiation exposure to medical staff and does require attention. Patients undergoing PET/CT scan would add to this radiation exposure. Following simple guidelines for reducing contact time and increasing distance would suffice to minimize the radiation exposure to staff. For patients with urinary catheters or incontinence, standard precautions for dealing with biohazardous material would be sufficient to prevent undue radiation exposure and contamination.

» Are there any radiation risks to other non-radiation workers, e.g. anesthetists, para medical staffs, nurses?

No, there is no need for restrictive advice for non-radiation workers who have only occasional contact with patients who have undergone a PET/CT examination. The usual principles of reducing contact time and keeping distance apply.

» What training requirements should be met by staff involved in PET/CT?

The basic training requirements and guidelines set by each country for each staff category (nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, medical physicists and technologists or radiographers as appropriate) should be followed for the PET/CT. 

PET/CT has inter-disciplinary nature will be best met through a collaboration and consensus among professional bodies on training requirements, and judicious use of continuing education programmes. If PET/CT is located in a nuclear medicine facility the physicians may need to gain the knowledge and skills required to interpret CT, and the nuclear medicine technologists may need to be able to perform CT examinations. On the other hand, if it is in a radiology department, the radiologists and radiological technologists may need to acquire knowledge and skills in nuclear medicine. In either case, the physicians, radiologists and technologists involved must be well educated and trained in PET/CT imaging procedures and radiation protection principles.