A comparison has been carried out between standard-dose computed tomography, non-diagnostic computed tomography and digital radiography with respect to their suitability for detecting radioactive fragments associated with nuclear or radiological events such as debris from radiological dispersal devices. The purpose was to investigate if radiographic imaging is justified for the detection and localisation of radioactive fragments in affected patients.Fragments of uranium (U), copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and volcanic ash with effective diameters ranging from (approximately) 100 to 700 μm were selected. The fragments were positioned at two different locations on an anatomical torso phantom and images were produced with standard-dose CT, non-diagnostic CT and digital radiography. Capsules with radionuclides of (137)Cs, (60)Co and (99m)Tc were also positioned in the phantom and the effective doses were estimated for radionuclide exposures as well as for standard-dose CT, non-diagnostic CT and digital radiography. For standard-dose CT and digital radiography, U, Cu and Fe fragments were detected in sizes down to 100-180, 250-300 and 300-400 μm respectively. For the non-diagnostic CT the results were 180-250 μm (for U), 300-400 μm (for Cu) and 400-500 μm (for Fe). The effective dose from the standard-dose CT, non-diagnostic CT and digital radiography was 5.6, 1.9 and 0.76 mSv. Corresponding doses from (137)Co, (60)Co and (99m)Tc positioned at the site of fragments were in the range of 0.07-0.1, 0.32-0.45 and 0.08-0.09 mSv per MBq during 24 h. We conclude that, for a number of gamma emitters with activity levels on the order of magnitude of megabecquerel, imaging using ionising radiation can be justified since the effective dose from the radionuclides will exceed the dose from the radiological examination.
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi