Outpatient therapeutic 131I for thyroid cancer

Beata Panzegrau, Leonie Gordon, Glen H Goudy
Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology 2005, 33 (1): 28-30

OBJECTIVE: We retrospectively analyzed the safety, cost effectiveness, and patient acceptance of outpatient high-dose 131I treatment for thyroid cancer at our hospital since 1997, when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission began allowing high-dose outpatient therapy with radioiodine.

METHODS: Forty-eight patients were treated as outpatients because their living conditions were acceptable and they were willing to comply with radiation safety guidelines. The homes of 3 patients were surveyed for contamination. The cost of outpatient treatment was compared with the cost of inpatient treatment. Patient acceptance was assessed by patient satisfaction surveys performed at the time of the posttherapy scan.

RESULTS: No levels of contamination above regulatory levels were found in patients' homes. The cost of outpatient treatment was favorable. All surveyed patients were pleased with the procedure.

CONCLUSION: If state and federal guidelines for releasing patients are followed, and if patients' living conditions are adequately assessed, outpatient treatment with high-dose 131I is safe and cost effective and improves patient satisfaction.

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