Radioactive waste minimization implications of clinically-indicated exsanguination procedures

R. G. Costello, R. J. Emery, R. B. Pakala, M. A. Charlton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exsanguination is a method of animal euthanasia approved for use in specific circumstances. Animals undergoing exsanguination are fully anesthetized, and the blood is removed resulting in hypovolemia. In situations where radioactive materials are used as part of a research protocol that remain predominantly suspended in the blood, the exsanguination procedure can result in a significant lowering of residual radioactivity content. This reduction can greatly affect the types of waste management and minimization options that can be subsequently applied. In this study, data were collected from 20 rabbits injected with approximately 29.6 MBq (0.8 mCi) of tritiated thymidine as part of a percutaneous transluminal carotid artery angioplasty study. Residual concentrations of radioactivity were consistently reduced by an average of 88%. The reduction was very significant in this instance, since the residual activities were below the established exemption limit of 1.85 kBq g-1 (0.05 μCi g-1) for disposal of these wastes as non-radioactive. Although the exsanguination procedure can result in significant waste minimization opportunities in certain circumstances, this should not be the rationale for its use. Rather, the method of euthanasia should be based exclusively on sound animal care and use principles, and waste management strategies should then be made following that decision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-293
Number of pages3
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood
  • Low-level
  • Radiation protection
  • Waste
  • Waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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