Answer to Question #5822 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
I had a HIDA (hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid) scan done
today and asked the technician whether I needed to stay away from my
children for any length of time. She said it was no problem with the
technetium, as if I had not received radioactive iodine or something
more potent. Immediately after my HIDA scan, I came home and rocked my
one-year-old to sleep and ended up taking a nap with him. I was in very
close contact with him for almost three hours. This was all within the
first couple of hours after the injection. The scan took less than an
hour and a half, and I live two minutes away from the hospital, so my
first contact with him was less than two hours after the injection.
I can understand your concern about the information that the nuclear medicine technician gave you after your HIDA injection and scan. If you had asked the same question of technicians at my hospital, they would also have told that you there were no restrictions. Nevertheless, if you were concerned about exposing your children, they would recommend that you could maintain some distance from your children for the rest of the day.
The exposure your child received was very low and should not be a concern. The positive side of this situation is that a HIDA scan uses a small dose of technetium-99m, typically about 300 MBq (8 millicuries), which is less than most other nuclear medicine studies using technetium-99m. I assume that you were not administered cholecystokinin. While it is commonly used following the first HIDA scan, it takes another 30 minutes of imaging. One hour of imaging is the smallest time possible for the HIDA scan.
I estimated the radiation dose to your child from measurements of
nuclear medicine patients after injections of 99mTc (technetium-99m). I assumed
radioactive decay and no voiding, which would have further reduced the
dose. My estimated dose to your child was about 0.14 mSv for the
three hours after your imaging scan. This dose is not a concern to
health of your child, and many radiation experts would say it is not
dangerous. Adverse effects of radiation exposures have not been
demonstrated in exposures below 100 mSv, as noted in the Health
Physics Society Position Paper "Radiation Risk in Perspective." The position statement says in part, "Below 100 mSv. .
. risks of health effects are either too small to be observed or are
nonexistent." Also, there is no test that can be done to determine any
detrimental effect to your child at this very low radiation dose.
Answer posted on 17 October 2006. The information and material posted on this website is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may alter the concepts and applications of materials and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice specific to whatever facts and circumstances are presented in any given situation. Answers are correct at the time they are posted on the website. Be advised that over time, some requirements could change, new data could be made available, or Internet links could change. For answers that have been posted for several months or longer, please check the current status of the posted information prior to using the responses for specific applications.
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