Medical Radiology and Radiation Safety. 2023. Vol. 68. № 1

DOI: 10.33266/1024-6177-2023-68-1-41-47

N.A. Metlyaeva, A.Yu. Bushmanov, I.A. Galstyan, O.V. Shcherbatykh, 
M.V. Konchalovsky, F.S. Torubarov, V.V. Korenykov

Toxic Pneumosclerosis as a Consequence of Chronic Plutonium Exposure

A.I. Burnazyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center, Moscow, Russia

Contact person: N.A. Metlyaeva, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Purpose: To assess toxic pneumosclerosis caused by inhalation intake of plutonium aerosols in a patient who worked in contact with plutonium at the Mayak Production Association from 1948–1954.

Material and methods: Patient Sh., born in 1924, higher education, at the age of 24, began working as a chemical engineer at MPO Mayak from 1948 to 1954 under conditions of increased occupational hazard of ionizing radiation (exposure to gamma rays and ingestion of plutonium aerosols). During her work, she received 389, 624 R: (1950 ‒ 83, 57; 1951 ‒ 187, 29; 1952 ‒ 70, 24; 1953 ‒ 48, 14). Carrying plutonium.

Results: А clinical description of toxic pneumosclerosis of a severe degree of a progressive course, caused by the intake of mainly transportable plutonium aerosols against the background of a combined effect of external relatively uniform gamma radiation, is given. The carriage of plutonium and its removal from the body were established and confirmed. For diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, the patient underwent pentacin inhalations in 2 stages for 3 days. The excretion of plutonium-239 in the urine increased to a maximum of 940 units / min ‒ 1150 units / min (06.04.1957‒06.06.1957) and 464 units / min (06.14.1957), in feces ‒ 308 units / min ‒ 252 units / min (06.07.1957‒ 06.11.1957) and 236 units / min (18.06.1957). The assessment of the amount and alpha activity of the received in the lungs, liver, bones, and other organs was carried out according to the biophysical study of the organs of the corpse of the patient Sh.

Conclusion: The clinical picture of the patient was determined by toxic plutonium pneumosclerosis of a severe degree of progressive course as a consequence of chronic exposure to plutonium. Hypoxia (hypoxemic and tissue). Pulmonary heart. Focal pneumonia. Upex lungs. Violation of the vasomotor and respiratory centers. Moderate oppression of hematopoiesis and asthenic syndrome as a consequence of chronic radiation sickness II degree. The disease progressed with damage to the main critical organs (lungs, liver, bones). The patient died from heart failure, which developed as a result of pneumosclerosis with symptoms of asphyxia.

Keywords: chronic radiation sickness, plutonium pneumosclerosis, carriage of plutonium-239, aerosols, hypoxia, hypoxemia

For citation: Metlyaeva NA, Bushmanov AYu, Galstyan IA, Shcherbatykh OV, Konchalovsky MV, Torubarov FS, Korenykov VV. Toxic Pneumosclerosis as a Consequence of Chronic Plutonium Exposure. Medical Radiology and Radiation Safety. 2023;68(1):41–47.
(In Russian). DOI: 10.33266/1024-6177-2023-68-1-41-47



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Conflict of interest. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Financing. The study had no sponsorship.

Contribution. Article was prepared with equal participation of the authors.

Article received: 20.09.2022. Accepted for publication: 25.11.2022.