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Radiological Protection in Medicine

ICRP Publication 105

Ann. ICRP 37 (6), 2007


Abstract - This report was prepared to underpin the Commissionís 2007 Recommendations with regard to the medical exposure of patients, including their comforters and carers, and volunteers in biomedical research. It addresses the proper application of the fundamental principles (justification, optimisation of protection, and application of dose limits) of the Commissionís 2007 Recommendations to these individuals.

With regard to medical exposure of patients, it is not appropriate to apply dose limits or dose constraints, because such limits would often do more harm than good. Often, there are concurrent chronic, severe, or even life-threatening medical conditions that are more critical than the radiation exposure. The emphasis is then on justification of the medical procedures and on the optimisation of radiological protection. In diagnostic and interventional procedures, justification of procedures (for a defined purpose and for an individual patient), and management of the patient dose commensurate with the medical task, are the appropriate mechanisms to avoid unnecessary or unproductive radiation exposure. Equipment features that facilitate patient dose management, and diagnostic reference levels derived at the appropriate national, regional, or local level, are likely to be the most effective approaches. In radiation therapy, the avoidance of accidents is a predominant issue. With regard to comforters and carers, and volunteers in biomedical research, dose constraints are appropriate.

Over the last decade, the Commission has published a number of documents that provided detailed advice related to radiological protection and safety in the medical applications of ionising radiation. Each of the publications addressed a specific topic defined by the type of radiation source and the medical discipline in which the source is applied, and was written with the intent of communicating directly with the relevant medical practitioners and supporting medical staff. This report consolidates that advice.

Recommended reference format for citations

ICRP, 2007. Radiological Protection in Medicine. ICRP Publication 105. Ann. ICRP 37 (6).


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