Pathological changes in the gastrointestinal tract of a heavily radiation-exposed worker at the Tokai-mura criticality accident

Hiroshi Igaki, Keiichi Nakagawa, Hiroshi Uozaki, Masaaki Akahane, Yoshio Hosoi, Masashi Fukayama, Kiyoshi Miyagawa, Makoto Akashi, Kuni Ohtomo, Kazuhiko Maekawa

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Gastrointestinal syndrome after high-dose acute radiation whole body exposure is difficult to treat, although it is a well-known complication. In this report, we describe the clinical and pathological features of a patient who died after the criticality accident which occurred in Japan on 30 September 1999. The patient was estimated to have been exposed to 16-25 Gy equivalent of gamma ray, and died of multiple organ failure after acute radiation syndrome, especially gastrointestinal syndrome, on day 82. The stomach and small intestine contained a large amount of blood clots and the gastrointestinal epithelial cells were almost totally depleted at autopsy. In addition, the degree of the mucosal damage was dependent on the segment of the gastrointestinal tract; the mucosa of stomach, ileum and ascending colon was entirely depleted, but the esophagus, descending and sigmoid colon and rectum retained a small portion of the epithelial cells. From the posture of the patient at the time of exposure, the absorbed dose was presumed to be highest in the right-anterior abdomen. This agreed with the pathological differences in the mucosal damage by the position in the abdomen, which depended presumably on the radiation dose. This is the first report documenting the relationship between the absorbed dose and the severity of gastrointestinal damages in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of radiation research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute radiation exposure
  • Criticality accident
  • Gastrointestinal syndrome
  • Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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