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The rapid growth of Positron Emission Tomography presents a growing concern for radioprotection during each phase: radiopharmaceutical production, fractionation, dispensing, and injection. During the production phase, the use of automatic synthesis modules, can serve to reduce operator-exposure to very low levels; for the fractionation and syringe calibration phase, great improvements have been provided recently by the use of automatic fractionation and calibration systems (COMECER Althea and Theodorico).
The Elfo Automated Injection System now provides an answer to the very high medical personnel exposures which can occur during the last phase of radiopharmaceutical handling: patient injections. The Elfo project originates from the need for alternative solutions to the current way of operating, with the aim of reducing to the minimum the exposure of the personnel working in PET centres to ionising radiation.
To achieve this goal, two distinct strategies are followed.
The first strategy is a container in tungsten, a non-toxic material featuring a high density and a high atomic number, that creates an effective shield from the 511 keV gamma rays. Moreover, the front door (in anti-X glass) and the space where the capillaries pass are fitted with lead shields.
The second strategy concerns the introduction of an automatic system with the possibility of remote control and with the operator being far from the source of radiation.