Patient safety in nuclear medicine: identification of key strategic areas for vigilance and improvement

Ömer Kasalak, Derya Yakar, Rudi A J O Dierckx, Thomas C Kwee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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To determine the types of patient safety incidents and associated harm in nuclear medicine practice.


This study included 147 patient safety incidents related to nuclear medicine practice and submitted to the incident reporting system of a tertiary care nuclear medicine department between 2014 and 2019.


The top-three incident types according to the International Classification for Patient Safety (ICPS) were medication/IV fluids (36/147, 24.5%), clinical administration (28/147, 19.0%), and clinical process/procedure (27/147, 18.4%), altogether comprising 61.9% of incidents. Within the medication/IV fluids domain, half of incident subtypes were attributable to supply/ordering, omitted medicine or dose, and wrong dose/strength of frequency. Within the clinical administration domain, appointment and wrong patient represented the majority of incident subtypes. Within the clinical process/procedure domain, the majority of incident subtypes fell in the categories: specimens/results and incomplete/inadequate. There was no patient harm in 145 (98.6%) of cases, mild patient harm in 1 (0.7%) case, and in 1 (0.7%) case, it remained unclear if there was patient harm. In 4 (2.7%) cases, a Prevention Recovery Information System for Monitoring and Analysis evaluation was performed because of the high risk of reoccurrence and patient harm.


The majority of patient safety incidents in nuclear medicine occur in three main ICPS categories (medication/IV fluids, clinical administration, and clinical process/procedure, in order of decreasing frequency). These can be considered as key strategic areas for incident prevention and patient safety improvement. Nevertheless, the rate of actual patient harm was very low in our series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1116
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Medicine Communications
Issue number11
Early online date4-Aug-2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2020


  • medical errors
  • nuclear medicine
  • patient safety
  • quality of healthcare

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