Embalming

Liquid Radioisotopes In the presence of liquid radioisotopes, simple embalming using standard aspiration and injection methods minimizes the likelihood of contamination and will not expose the embalmer to appreciable amounts of radiation. Fluids should be removed by means of a trocar and tubing in a manner that does not require an individual to hold either item or be close to the body while the fluid is draining. Fluids from the body can be drained directly into the sewage system unless directed otherwise by the radiation safety officer. Collection and handling of body cavity fluids should be done only under the direction of a knowledgeable person as these procedures may increase radiation exposures. Depending on the radioisotope and route of administration, the fluid may contain high radioactivity levels and must be handled accordingly—for example, stored in shielded containers (see below).

Embalming may or may not appreciably reduce activity levels within the body. Early after administration, 131I is circulating throughout the body. Twenty-four hours after administration, only trace amounts are circulating because most of the material has been excreted or taken up by the thyroid gland. Similarly, 89Sr that has not been excreted is found in the skeleton after only a few days. Therefore, 2-3 d after administration, these radioisotopes would be found only in minimal concentrations in embalming fluid. However, patients who have received radioisotopes (e.g., 32P, 198Au) intrapleurally or intraperitoneally

Table 13-2 Dose to Hands in Peritoneal Cavitya

Dose (mrem/min)

Table 13-2 Dose to Hands in Peritoneal Cavitya

Dose (mrem/min)

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