July 27, 2022 – Patients for Safer Nuclear Medicine, a coalition of 29 patient advocacy organizations representing thousands of patients, along with more than 600 concerned U.S. citizens today praised the United States House of Representatives for passing two credit bills that invoke important language on federal agencies to improve patient safety in nuclear medicine.
Misapplications of radiopharmaceuticals caused by human error, insufficient training, lack of quality procedures and exceeding established radiation dose thresholds are currently required to be reported to NRC. Extravasations occur when radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine procedures are accidentally injected into the patient’s tissue rather than into a vein. Despite potential patient safety implications, even the most severe extravasations are exempt from NRC reporting requirements due to a 42-year-old loophole in NRC policy.
Credit laws passed by the House of Representatives last week call on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to update its internal rules for reporting significant accidental radiation exposure, and call on the Veterans Health Administration to monitor injection quality and report significant extravasations.
“Each year, 30 million radiopharmaceutical administrations occur in the US, but NRC has excluded extravasations from reporting, even if they cause radiation doses hundreds of times higher than other reportable events,” says patients for Safer Nuclear Medicine spokesperson Mary Ajango . “Patients need to know if their care is being affected. The worst approach is to do nothing and wait for patients to get hurt.”
The House-approved credit bill package included the following language related to NRC: Reassessment of Nuclear Medicine Event Reporting — The Committee is closely following the Commission’s reconsideration of its policy on significant extravasations and medical event reporting. There is some evidence that nuclear medicine extravasations may be avoidable and that some extravasations may interfere with the reporting of medical events as described in 10 CFR Part 35, Subpart M. Imaging Procedures. The Committee continues to encourage the Commission to consider including significant extravasations in the reporting of medical events to improve safety, quality and transparency for patients, treating physicians and the Commission itself.
The package also included the following language related to the VA:
Improving the Quality of Nuclear Medicine — The Committee is aware of the implications of extravasations in nuclear medicine procedures, and understands that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are considering regulatory action to improve the quality of nuclear medicine injection. to improve medicine. The Committee continues to encourage VA to monitor injection quality, perform image extravasations, dosimetry and notify patients when they occur, and urge the department to adopt new regulatory requirements.
For more information: https://www.unchealthcare.org/