Summary of Acute Clinical Effects of Ionizing Radiation (9)

Subclinical RangeTherapeutic RangeLethal Range
Acute Radiation Exposure in Sieverts (rems) →0–1 Sv (0–100)1–2 Sv (100–200)2–6 Sv (200–600)6–10 Sv (600–1000)10–50 Sv (1000–5000)>50 Sv (>5000)
Treatment requiredReassuranceReassurance and hematologic surveillanceBlood transfusion and antibioticsConsider bone marrow transplantMaintenance of electrolyte balanceSedatives
Overall treatment planNone neededObservationEffectiveTherapy PromisingPalliativePalliative
Incidence of vomitingNone5% at 1 Sv (100 rem); 50% at 2 Sv (200 rem)100% at 3 Sv (300 rem)100%100%100%
Delay time prior to vomitingN/A3 h2 h1 h30 min30 min
Leading organ affectedNoneBlood-forming tissueBlood-forming tissueBlood-forming tissueGI tractCNS
Characteristic Sign(s)NoneMild leukopeniaSevere leukopenia; hemorrhage; hair loss above 3 Sv (300 rems)Severe leukopenia; infections; erythemaDiarrhea; fever; electrolyte imbalanceConvulsions; tremor; ataxia; lethargy
Critical period post exposureN/AN/A4–6 wk4–6 wk5–14 d1–48 h
Incidence of deathNoneNone0–80%80%–100%90%–100%90%–100%
Cause of deathN/AN/AHemorrhage and infectionHemorrhage and infectionCirculatory collapseRespiratory failure and brain edema