Use of radiopharmaceuticals in diagnostic nuclear medicine in the United States: 1960-2010
To reconstruct reliable nuclear medicine-related occupational radiation doses or doses received as patients from radiopharmaceuticals over the last five decades, the authors assessed which radiopharmaceuticals were used in different time periods, their relative frequency of use, and typical values of the administered activity. This paper presents data on the changing patterns of clinical use of radiopharmaceuticals and documents the range of activity administered to adult patients undergoing diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures in the U.S. between 1960 and 2010. Data are presented for 15 diagnostic imaging procedures that include thyroid scan and thyroid uptake; brain scan; brain blood flow; lung perfusion and ventilation; bone, liver, hepatobiliary, bone marrow, pancreas, and kidney scans; cardiac imaging procedures; tumor localization studies; localization of gastrointestinal bleeding; and non-imaging studies of blood volume and iron metabolism. Data on the relative use of radiopharmaceuticals were collected using key informant interviews and comprehensive literature reviews of typical administered activities of these diagnostic nuclear medicine studies. Responses of key informants on relative use of radiopharmaceuticals are in agreement with published literature. Results of this study will be used for retrospective reconstruction of occupational and personal medical radiation doses from diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals to members of the U.S. radiologic technologists' cohort and in reconstructing radiation doses from occupational or patient radiation exposures to other U.S. workers or patient populations.