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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- nuclear medicine
- radiation protection