Answer to Question #10332 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — PET

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


A mother who is breast-feeding a three-week-old baby is to have a pelvic PET scan. She is getting conflicting advice about how long she will have to refrain from breast-feeding and from holding her baby. She has been told she will be given 400 MBq. Can you help?

A nuclear medicine physician or nuclear medicine technologist at the hospital or clinic should be able to answer your question. Breast-feeding cessation is very important for mothers and the hospital or clinic has a responsibility to their patients to do no harm. Hospitals in the United States are required to have policies for this patient population.
You did not specify the radiopharmaceutical. The most likely candidate is fluorine-18 labelled deoxyglucose. If that is the case, International Commission on Radiological Protection Publication 106 indicates that no interruption of breast-feeding is needed to limit the effective dose to the infant to 1 millisievert.
Fluorine-18 has a very short half-life and it also is excreted by the body in the urine.
Michael Stabin, CHP, and Marcia Hartman
Answer posted on 9 July 2012. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.