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Exhalation of 131I after radioiodine therapy: Dosimetric considerations based on measurements in exhaled air

Sudbrock, F., Fischer, Th., Zimmermanns, B., Drzezga, A., Schomäcker, K.
Journal of environmental radioactivity 2016
air, breathing, children, patients, people, therapeutics
It is well known that a considerable amount of radioiodine is exhaled after radioiodine therapy (RIT) leading to unwanted radiation exposure through inhalation for non-involved persons. This study focuses on the amount of exhalation in the breath-out air of RIT-patients and the dosimetric consequences. Furthermore, the correlation between radioiodine uptake and exhalation was investigated.The radioiodine species were collected in a filter system and quantified over time by measurements with a scintillation counter. The dosimetric implications were then studied for different exposure scenarios.Of the activity administered to the patient, approximately 10−3% (50–110 ppm) is exhaled. The radioiodine inhalation taking place following exhalation in the vicinity yields doses of up to 500 μSv (children, staying with the patient immediately after application and for the next 8 h). Three days after administration the doses are significantly reduced. This study lays emphasis on previous assumptions that exhalation depends on thyroid storage. Regardless of the type of thyroid disease, the predominant form exhaled is organic radioiodine. The amount of exhaled radioiodine is small but from the point of view of radiation protection, by no means negligible immediately after administration. Radiation doses received by incorporation of exhaled radioiodine can easily exceed 100 μSv soon after administration of radioiodine. Three days after RIT the radioactivity can still be measured in the exhaled air but even at maximum, the annual doses lie far below 10 μSv and are thus comparatively low.