RSNA: Automated 18F-FDG system can reduce radiation burden for techs

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CHICAGO--The integration of an automated 18F-FDG infusion system in a PET/CT clinical setting can significantly lower radiation exposure for attending radiology technical personnel, according to an analysis presented Wednesday at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting.

Thomas Berthold, MD, division of nuclear medicine, University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, and colleagues infused 400 patients with 200-300 MBq 18F-FDG using an automatic FDG infusion system (Medrad Intego).

The flow rate was 1 cc per second, with a total injection time of 30 seconds, during which, according to Berthold, “the responsible technical personnel can move away from the patient, reducing radiation exposure.”

The total radiation burden for the technician, including injection and relocation of the patient to the uptake room was 0.4 mSv. The average radiation burden for a technician during manual injection was 2 mSv.

The automatic system is accurate as well as practical, Berthold said. The average deviation from the prescribed dose was -0.7 percent with a range of -3.1 percent to +0.8 percent. Its portability means that “in certain situations where patients can’t be moved, we can move the system to the patient,” Berthold said.

In the question period that followed the presentation, Berthold was asked whether his research took into account the necessity of reloading the system with the FDG and the impact that had on radiation burden for technical personnel. The same questioner also pointed out that in cases in which patients had an adverse reaction to the procedure it would have to be stopped and the radioactive material would have to be flushed out of the system, adding more radiation exposure to the technologist.

Berthold said future analyses would look at issues like these.