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Long-Term Effects of High Radiation Exposure to Patients and Staff

Did you know that people are exposed to radiation sources on a daily basis? Natural radiation sources such as naturally occurring radioactive materials found in soil, water and air can have an impact on health. On the other hand, man-made radiation exists as well, with medical devices, including X-ray machines, as the largest source of man-made radiation. 

Internal Exposure

The internal exposure of radiation particles occurs when a radionuclide is ingested, inhaled or enters the bloodstream in some way. This exposure stops when the radionuclide is expelled from the body via treatment or naturally. During our cardiac PET scans, there is no internal exposure to radiation. 

External Exposure

External exposure is another means of incurring radionuclides, and this is especially the case in certain medical procedures. X-rays are considered a planned exposure, as radiation is utilized for the diagnosis of patients. Keep in mind that the medical use of radiation accounts for roughly 98 percent of the population dose contribution from all artificial sources. Over 3600 million diagnostic radiology exams are performed on an annual basis. 

What Are the Long-Term Impacts?

With exposure to radiation comes long-term risks. Depending on the dosage of radiation, potential side effects include tissue or organ damage, hair loss, skin redness, radiation burns and acute radiation syndrome. Long-term exposure that lasts years or even decades can result in the development of certain types of cancer. 

Thanks to the implementation of ALARA, all of our cardiac PET scans are designed to minimize exposure to patients to help them reduce the side effects of the scan. We also double the distance between the patient’s body and the machine to help reduce exposure. Rest assured that our team at Cardiac Imaging, Inc. has put together a thoughtful, meaningful protocol to keep exposure as low as possible.