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Article
May 12, 1956

MEDICAL CARE OF WOUNDS CONTAMINATED WITH RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS

Author Affiliations

Lemont, Ill.

From the Health Division, Argonne National Laboratory.

JAMA. 1956;161(2):121-126. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970020001001
Abstract

• The presence of radioactive materials on the skin and in wounds introduces problems of therapy that heretofore have not complicated conventional surgical treatment. Attention to initial decontamination, adequate monitoring with special detection instruments, and possible excision of otherwise viable tissue may be necessary.

Systemic injury, from the absorption of excessive amounts of radioactive substance, takes the form either of the acute radiation syndrome or of the delayed, varied toxic effects of slowly excreted, long-lived isotopes. Methods of hastening the excretion of some of these substances include the use of compounds such as zirconium citrate and edathamil calcium-disodium.

Elaborate decontamination facilities are necessary where radioactive materials are used, and the care of patients with contaminated wounds is made safer and more effective by suitable planning.

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