State Officials Offer Travel Tips for Nuclear Medicine Patients
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Environmental Protection
Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty and Homeland Security Director Keith Martin
today advised residents receiving nuclear medicine treatments that residual
radiation from these treatments may cause travel delays due to increased
security at places such as airports, rail stations, ports, international
border crossings, bridges, tunnels and large public gatherings.
"Although the radioactive material used in nuclear medicine treatments are
short-lived, it still may require several days after a treatment for a patient
to stop emitting detectable levels of radiation," Secretary McGinty said.
"Many transportation checkpoints, such as airport boarding areas and
international border crossings on highways, now include scans for radiation. A
patient still emitting radiation from medical treatment could be delayed at
one of these checkpoints."
McGinty said that detection equipment can pick up the radiation a patient
is emitting, but the monitoring equipment may not be sophisticated enough to
detect the type of radioactive material, and security officials may err on the
side of caution, delaying the patient's travel until the situation can be
"In these days of heightened security, radiation scans are being conducted
at more and more places," Martin said. "Security officials need to take these
kinds of steps to protect the public. While these officials need to err on the
side of safety, I am advising security personnel to be aware that nuclear
medicine treatments may be the reason for some radiation detection. I also am
asking nuclear medicine patients for their patience and understanding in
support of the people and programs that are aimed at protecting all of our
The officials advise patients undergoing nuclear medicine treatments to
consult with their health-care providers as to how long they may emit
detectable radiation following the treatment. With vacation planning in full
swing, patients may want to try and schedule travel after this detectable time
period has passed, if possible, to avoid any difficulties. Another option is
to request a letter of explanation from a physician, with a contact name and
phone number for security officials to contact to verify the information.
Some common medical procedures that could result in patients emitting
radiation for a period of days include stress tests, hyperthyroid treatments
and bone scans.
Secretary McGinty and Martin urge patients to plan their travel with their
nuclear medicine treatments in mind, and are asking for cooperation from
health-care providers and facilities in giving patients supporting
documentation concerning their treatments.
"Pre-planning can help avoid travel delays, and concern among security
officials, during the busy summer travel season," Martin said.
CONTACT: Ron Ruman