A follow-up of 10 highly irradiated men, mostly reactor crew, from the Chernobyl accident is described. Their pre-accident medical conditions and relevant medical status approximately 10-13 y later are listed. A comparison is made between estimates of their average whole-body penetrating radiation doses derived from several biological parameters. First estimates were based on their presenting severity of prodromal sickness, early changes in blood cell counts and dicentric chromosome aberrations in lymphocytes. In three cases ESR measurements on tooth enamel were also made. Retrospective dosimetry using FISH translocations was attempted 10-13 y later. This showed good agreement for those patients with the lower earlier dose estimates, up to about 3 Gy. For the others, extending up to about 12 Gy, the translocations indicated lower values, suggesting that in these cases translocations had somewhat declined. Repeated chromosomal examinations during the follow-up period showed an expected decline in dicentric frequencies. The pattern of decline was bi-phasic with a more rapid first phase, with a half-life of ∼4 months followed by a slower decline with half-lives around 2-4 y. The rapid phase persisted for a longer time in those patients who had received the highest doses. 10-13 y later dicentric levels were still above normal background, but well below the translocation frequencies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank INTAS (research grant no. 97-1152) for financial support for this work.