Operational Testing of a Combined Hardware-Software Strategy for Triage of Radiologically-Contaminated Persons
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After a radiological dispersal device (RDD) event, it is possible for radionuclides to enter the human body through inhalation, ingestion, and skin and wound absorption. The dominant pathway will be through inhalation. From a health physics perspective, it is important to know the magnitude of the intake to perform dosimetric assessments. From a medical perspective, removal of radionuclides leading to dose (hence risk) aversion is of high importance. The efficacy of medical decorporation strategies is extremely dependent upon the time of treatment delivery after intake. The "golden hour," or more realistically 3-4 h, is imperative when attempting to increase removal of radionuclides from extracellular fluids prior to cellular incorporation. To assist medical first response personnel in making timely decisions regarding appropriate treatment delivery modes, a software tool has been developed which compiles existing radionuclide decorporation therapy data and allows a user to perform simple triage leading to potential appropriate decorporation treatment strategies. Three triage algorithms were included: (1) multi-parameter model (MPM), (2) clinical decision guidance (CDG) model, and (3) annual limit on intake (ALI) model. A radiation triage mask (RTM) has simultaneously been developed to provide a simple and rapid hardware solution for first responders to triage internally exposed personnel in the field. The hardware/software strategy was field tested with a military medical unit and was found by end-users to be relatively simple to learn and use.
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