Treating Acute Radiation Syndrome

  • Erik Seedhouse
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Space Development book series (BRIEFSSPACE)


A crew exposed to a high dose of ionizing radiation will fall into three categories: (1) those who recover with minor medical intervention, (2) those who require high-level medical care (such as bone marrow stem cell transplantation), and (3) those triaged for palliative care [1, 2]. In reality, given the lack of medical supplies, the second group will fall into the third category. In such an event (see boxed text), the crew medical officer (CMO) will need to remove external contamination, estimate the radiation dose (Table 8.1), and administer fluids and electrolytes (Figs. 8.1 and 8.2). That is assuming the CMO is not one of those who falls into the second or third category! After 48 h, a second patient scoring will be conducted, and documentation of therapeutic management and organ failure will be performed.


Ionizing radiationIonizing Radiation Crew Medical Officer (CMO) Minor Medical Treatment Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation Administer Fluids 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Christensen DM, Iddins CJ, Parrillo SJ, Glassman ES, Goans RE. Management of ionizing radiation injuries and illnesses, part 4: radiation illness and injury: cutaneous radiation injury. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2014;114:11.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Goans RE. Clinical care of the radiation-accident patient: patient presentation, assessment, and initial diagnosis. In: Ricks RC, Berger ME, O’Hara Jr FM, editors. The medical basis for radiation-accident preparedness: the clinical care of victims. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fliedner TM, Friesecke I, Beyrer K, editors. Medical management of radiation accidents: manual on the acute radiation syndrome. London: British Institute of Radiology; 2001. p. 13–38.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dainiak N, Gent RN, Carr Z, et al. First global consensus for evidence-based management of the hematopoietic syndrome resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2011;5(3):202–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Freifeld AG, Bow EJ, Sepkowitz KA, et al. Clinical practice guideline for the use of antimicrobial agents in neutropenic patients with cancer: 2010 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(4):e56-e93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baranov AE, Selidovkin GD, Butturini A, Gale RP. Hematopoietic recovery after 10-Gy acute total body radiation. Blood. 1994;83(2):596–9.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zahorec R. Ratio of neutrophil to lymphocyte counts-rapid and simple parameter of systemic inflammation and stress in critically ill. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2001;102(1):5–14.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhang A, Azizova TV, Wald N, Day R. Changes of ratio of peripheral neutrophils and lymphocytes after radiation exposure may serve as a prognostic indicator of accident severity. In: Final Program, 49th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society. McLean, VA: Health Physics Society; 2004. Abstract P8:17.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Goans RE, Holloway EC, Berger ME, Ricks RC. Early dose assessment in criticality accidents. Health Phys. 2001;81(4):446–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Peter RU. Cutaneous radiation syndrome in multi-organ failure. BJR Suppl. 2005;27:180–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Goans RE. Cytogenetic biodosimetry and clinical hematology in the management of radiation injury. In:The medical basis for radiation-accident preparedness: medical management. Oak Ridge: Oak Ridge Associated Universities; 2013.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Stricklin D. Application of the premature chromosome condensation (PCC) assay in radiation dose assessment. In:The medical basis for radiation-accident preparedness: medical management. Oak Ridge: Oak Ridge Associated Universities; 2013. p. 379–89.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Seedhouse
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Aviation SciencesEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityDaytona BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations