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Nuclear terrorism: the role of hematology in coping with its health consequences

Fliedner, Theodor M

doi: 10.1097/01.moh.0000245696.77758.e6
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Purpose of review This review reports on a novel approach to use blood cell change patterns after accidental whole body radiation exposure (to be expected as a consequence of nuclear terrorism) as reliable indicators of effect and as an aid to plan therapeutic measures.

Recent findings There is growing concern about the potential of nuclear terrorism. Several scenarios are being discussed. In all of them one finds elements that mimic the experience gained in assessing and treating humans who were exposed to ionizing radiation in radiation accidents. This experience leads to diagnostic and therapeutic measures laid down in a recently published Manual on the Acute Radiation Syndrome. The European Bone Marrow Transplantation Group (EBMT) together with the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) in Paris and the University of Ulm published a consensus paper to use ‘response categories’ based on organ-specific gradings of severity as indicators of the severity of health impairments.

Summary The implication of this review is obvious: the medical staff confronted suddenly with the challenge of clinically managing an irradiated person will find all scientifically based recommendations in order to cope with the evolving problems on a scientific-pathophysiology driven approach.

Radiation Medicine Research Group, University of Ulm, Faculty of Medicine, Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-89081 Ulm, Germany

Correspondence to Theodor M. Fliedner, University of Ulm, Faculty of Medicine, Helmholtzstrasse 20, D-89081 Ulm, Germany Tel: +49 731 500 22900; fax: +49 731 500 22902; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.