Historical Patterns in the Types of Procedures Performed and Radiation Safety Practices Used in Nuclear Medicine from 1945-2009

Miriam E. Van Dyke, Vladimir Drozdovitch, Michele M. Doody, Hyeyeun Lim, Norman E. Bolus, Steven L. Simon, Bruce H. Alexander, Cari M. Kitahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The authors evaluated historical patterns in the types of procedures performed in diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine and the associated radiation safety practices used from 1945-2009 in a sample of U.S. radiologic technologists. In 2013-2014, 4,406 participants from the U.S. Radiologic Technologists (USRT) Study who previously reported working with medical radionuclides completed a detailed survey inquiring about the performance of 23 diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclide procedures and the use of radiation safety practices when performing radionuclide procedure-related tasks during five time periods: 1945-1964, 1965-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, and 2000-2009. An overall increase in the proportion of technologists who performed specific diagnostic or therapeutic procedures was observed across the five time periods. Between 1945-1964 and 2000-2009, the median frequency of diagnostic procedures performed substantially increased (from 5 wk-1 to 30 wk-1), attributable mainly to an increasing frequency of cardiac and non-brain PET scans, while the median frequency of therapeutic procedures performed modestly decreased (from 4 mo-1 to 3 mo-1). Also a notable increase was observed in the use of most radiation safety practices from 1945-1964 to 2000-2009 (e.g., use of lead-shielded vials during diagnostic radiopharmaceutical preparation increased from 56 to 96%), although lead apron use dramatically decreased (e.g., during diagnostic imaging procedures, from 81 to 7%). These data describe historical practices in nuclear medicine and can be used to support studies of health risks for nuclear medicine technologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • exposure
  • nuclear medicine
  • occupational
  • radiation protection
  • radionuclide


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