RKM: Separate Collection of Iodinated X-ray Constrast Media in Hospitals

In Berlin’s water bodies, high concentrations of AOI have been detected resulting from the discharge of iodinated X-ray contrast media (RKM) which are used for X-ray examinations in both hospitals and medical offices. These substances are almost completely excreted within 24 hours via the patient’s urine.

These polar, strongly hydrophilic and persistent substances are emitted via wastewater treatment plants into the surface waters where they have been detected already. Considering the principles of a preventive strategy for environmental protection and the imperative to minimise water impurities stipulated in the German Drinking Water Directive, the obvious choice is to collect them at the source and thus to prevent their emission into the water circulation.

In order to implement the separate collection and discharge of urine loaded with X-ray contrast media in hospitals, the following three concepts have been developed within the scope of a feasibility study:

  • a centralised collection concept featuring a no-mix toilet in the hospital’s radiology department

  • a decentralised collection concept featuring a no-mix toilet for every ward

  • another decentralised collection concept featuring mobile urine containers for the wards.

The feasibility study has shown that a separate collection of iodinated X-ray constrast media in hospitals can best be realised through decentralised urine collection methods using mobile urine containers such as urine bottles, bedpans and urine collection containers. This decentralised collection concept will undergo a 5-month test and demonstration phase in the hospitals Charité – Campus Virchow-Klinikum and Maria Heimsuchung Caritas-Klinik Pankow.


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