Uses of Radioisotope in Medical

Uses of Radioisotope in Medical


Gamma rays of cobalt-60 can be used to destroy cancer cells in patients. This treatment is known as radiotherapy.

Tracer to Detect Blood Clots or Tumour

  1. A small amount of sodium-24 is injected into the patient's body. 
  2. Radioactive imaging is then used to detect accumulation of sodium-24 and therefore detect tumours and blood clots before they become dangerous.

Sterilising Medical Instrument

  1. Gamma ray emitted from radioactive cobalt-60 can kill germs such as bacteria and fungus. 
  2. Medical instruments such as surgical equipment, syringes and bandages can be sterilised by using gamma rays.

Heart Pacemaker

(Heart Pacemaker)

  1. A heart  pacemaker is a medical device which uses electrical pulses to contract the heart muscles, and hence to regulate the beating of the heart. 
  2. Plutonium-238 in a nuclear battery is used to produce small electric shocks in the heart pacemaker. 
  3. People with irregular heartbeats need to have a heart pacemaker implanted inside their chest.

Tracer to Investigate Activities of Thyroid Glands

  1. A radioactive tracer is a substance containing a radioisotope that is used for tracking purposes.
  2. In medicine, radioactive substances are introduced into the body of patients and the radiation emitted is detected by using a gamma camera. This diagnostic process is known as radioactive imaging.
  3. In medicine, radioactive iodine-123 or iodine-125 is introduced into patient's body.
  4. The rate of accumulation of radioactive iodine in thyroid glands is measured through radioactive imaging. This is used to evaluate the function of the thyroid gland.