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Health Phys. 2010 Feb;98(2):128-35. doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000348461.00071.10.

The view from the trenches: part 2-technical considerations for EPR screening.

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EPR Center for Viable Systems, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


There is growing awareness of the need for methodologies that can be used retrospectively to provide the biodosimetry needed to carry out screening and triage immediately after an event in which large numbers of people have potentially received clinically significant doses of ionizing radiation. The general approach to developing such methodologies has been a technology centric one, often ignoring the system integrations considerations that are key to their effective use. In this study an integrative approach for the evaluation and development of a physical biodosimetry technology was applied based on in vivo electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) dosimetry. The EPR measurements are based on physical changes in tissues whose magnitudes are not affected by the factors that can confound biologically-based assessments. In this study the use of a pilot simulation exercise to evaluate an experimental EPR system and gather stakeholders' feedback early on in the development process is described. The exercise involved: ten non-irradiated participants, representatives from a local fire department; Department of Homeland Security certified exercise evaluators, EPR experts, physicians; and a human factors engineer. Stakeholders were in agreement that the EPR technology in its current state of development could be deployed for the screening of mass casualties. Furthermore, stakeholders' recommendations will be prioritized and incorporated in future developments of the EPR technique. While the results of this exercise were aimed specifically at providing feedback for the development of EPR dosimetry for screening mass casualties, the methods and lessons learned are likely to be applicable to other biodosimetric methods.

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