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Radiation burns 

Radiation burns
Chapter:
Radiation burns
Author(s):

Christina Yip

, Nigel Tapiwa Mabvuure

, and David Bodansky

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199699537.003.0021
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date: 02 April 2020

Radiation burns are caused by electromagnetic radiation (X-rays or gamma rays) or particle (alpha or beta) ionizing radiation. Ionization produces free radicals which cause DNA damage, cell death and malignant change. Burns may occur as a consequence of radiotherapy or medical imaging using beam energy. Radiation burns are generally rare and most commonly caused by isotopes (192Iridium or 60Cobolt) used for brachytherapy. Industrial accidents such as Fukushima can have catastrophic short and long-term sequelae but are rare. However, due to the constant threat of terror attacks, knowledge of the approach to a patient with radiation burns is important. This chapter discusses wound and general patient assessment as well as immediate treatment measures for a patient with radiation burns.

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