Whole Body Irradiation Effects

  • Total body exposure responses vary as a function of the total dose received (see table below)
  • The response to total body exposure is typically divided into 4 stages
    1. Prodromal: initial symptoms
      • Occurs in minutes to days after exposure
      • Often includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and general low level illness
    2. Latent phase: reduction in symptoms
      • Occurs days to weeks after exposure
      • Exposed individual may be temporarily free of effects
    3. Manifest illness: primary (dangerous) symptoms arise
    4. Death or recovery
SyndromeDose RangeSigns/SymptomsSurvival
Hematopoietic Syndrome1-6Gy
  • Drop in blood cell count.
  • Infections due to low blood cells
  • Poor wound healing
  • Moderate fever
  • Possible headache
  • Short-term cognitive impairment
  • Alopecia (after 3 Gy)
  • 50-95%
  • Recovery in 6-8 weeks
Gastrointestinal Syndrome6-30Gy
  • Symptoms associated with Hematopoietic Syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Death is common without exotic treatments such as bone marrow transplant
  • 0-50%
  • >99% fatality above 8Gy
  • Cause of death is generally gastrointestinal infection
  • Survival time of 2 days to 2 weeks
Neurovascular Syndrome>30Gy
  • Symptoms associated with Gastrointestinal Syndrome
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Ataxia
  • Loss of consciousness
  • 0% survival
  • Survival time 1-2 days