On the scheduled day of the therapy, the patient is admitted to a special room called the Nuclear Medicine Therapy Room or the Radioisotope Therapy Isolation Room. The I-131 MIBG is given through IV canula or by a central venous catheter over three to four hours. And, if required, IV fluids for hydration and other medications may be given.
Most of the I-131 MIBG accumulates in the neuroblastoma cells and the rest is excreted through the urine. Special precaution needs to be taken as this urine is radioactive. Other bodily wastes like saliva are radioactive as well. This makes the people around the patient vulnerable to radiation exposure. Speak to your doctor regarding precautions and safety measures that need to be taken.
The Radioisotope Therapy Isolation Room
Since the caregivers and other attending the patient receiving the I-131 MIBG Therapy are vulnerable to radiation exposure, the patient is admitted to a special high-dose radioisotope therapy isolation room.
The isolation room is a specially constructed room with lead lined walls and floors. Lead minimises the possibility of radiation exposure. The patient’s bed is also surrounded by portable lead sheets. The caregivers are always required to stay behind these lead shields.
The patient’s urine and other bodily wastes are also radioactive. These effluents are discarded through lead-lined pipes and are collected in a specially constructed decay tank submerged underground where they are stored till it’s safe to be released into the sewers.
The waste disposal bins are also lead-lined. The waste, such as soiled linen, diapers etc. are collected daily and taken to a specialised waste storage facility where it’s kept for a period of three months post which the waste can be disposed of as normal medical waste. A Radiation Safety Officer is responsible for monitoring the radiation levels on a daily basis.