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
- A small amount of sodium-24 is injected into the patient’s body.
- 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
- Gamma ray emitted from radioactive cobalt-60 can kill germs such as bacteria and fungus.
- Medical instruments such as surgical equipment, syringes and bandages can be sterilised by using gamma rays.
- 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.
- Plutonium-238 in a nuclear battery is used to produce small electric shocks in the heart pacemaker.
- People with irregular heartbeats need to have a heart pacemaker implanted inside their chest.
Tracer to Investigate Activities of Thyroid Glands
- A radioactive tracer is a substance containing a radioisotope that is used for tracking purposes.
- 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.
- In medicine, radioactive iodine-123 or iodine-125 is introduced into patient’s body.
- 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.