Chromosomal Aberrations, Micronuclei, Blood Parameters and Received Doses in Workers Exposed to Ionizing Radiation

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Jelena Dj. Djokovic
Srdjan M. Jankovic
Aleksandar P.S. Milovanovic
Petar Bulat


Cytogenetic testing, healthcare workers, occupational disease


Background: The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of low doses of ionizing radiation on healthcare workers using dosimeter data and several biomarkers of effects, and to asses the suitability of those tests. Methods: Data from the last medical examinations, obtained from the medical records of 148 employees were analysed. They were divided into three groups: nuclear medicine, interventional radiology and general radiology. The examination included hematological parameters and cytogenetical tests: unstable chromosomal aberrations (UCA) and micronucleus test (MNT). The received cumulative 5-year dose was calibrated into personal dose equivalents Hp(10). Results: A statistically significant difference was found between the groups in the UCAs (c2=6.634, p=0.036) with the highest UCA frequency in nuclear medicine. The ANOVA showed a statistically significant difference in the values of erythrocytes (F(2,140)=3.715, p=0.027), monocytes (F(2,127)=3.326, p=0.039) and platelets (F(2,135)=4.209, p=0.017), with higher erythrocytes and lower platelets in interventional radiology and lower monocytes in nuclear medicine, all with small effect size. The dose was significantly different among the groups (c2 =22,191; p<0.001). The nuclear medicine workers received a higher dose compared to interventional radiology (U=458, p<0.001) and general radiology (U=510.5, p<0.001). Conclusions: Nuclear medicine employees are at a higher risk of developing neoplastic and blood-related diseases due to consistent exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. Results suggest that UCA test might be more suitable for detecting radiation-induced damage at low doses than MNT. Compulsory monitoring of the health status at periodic examinations is required to prevent occupational diseases, esp. among the nuclear medicine workers.

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