Radiotherapy patients can trigger airport radiation alarmsBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.333.7562.0-a (Published 03 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0-a
All rapid responses
Gangopadhyay et al raise a very valid and important issue
especially in view of the current high risk and tense situation at ports
of travel especially the airports.
Each year at airports around the world, thousands of passengers have re-
examinations by handheld detectors and body checks because of positive
results at detection arches. These may be due to reasons stated by the
above author but in our experience orthopaedic metalwork used in surgery
can also trigger the security alarm1,2. In such circumstances body checks
may be used as an alternative in this group of patients as electronic
devices cannot distinguish between these and other metallic sources. The
other option would be for this group of patients to carry a hospital card
with details of the operation including the metalwork used. This will
definitely reduce the stress and embarassment faced by these patients.
The increasing sensitivity of the detectors in airports must be considered
and patients must be given appropriate warnings and documentation.
Vasudev Shanbhag Spinal Fellow
Sashin Ahuja Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon.
Cardiff Spinal Unit
1. Van der Wal BC, Grimm B, Heyligers IC. Airport detectors and
orthopaedic implants. Acta Orthop Belg. 2005 Aug;71(4):379-84.
2. Kamineni S, Legge S, Ware H.Metallic orthopaedic implants and airport
metal detectors. J Arthroplasty. 2002 Jan;17(1):62-5.
Competing interests: No competing interests