As a third installment in a series of articles on radiology physics, I’ve included a good summary table of important radionuclides to know for the ABR Core examination. This test also contains a component of the Radioisotope Safety Examination (RISE) which must be passed to obtain an Authorized User status from the ABR. Part of the RISE is contained on the core examination, and part of it is contained on the certifying examination which is taken 15 months after residency graduation. The second portion of the Radioisotope Safety Exam (RISE) is integrated into the Certifying Exam. The RISE elements on the Certifying Exam will be devoted to clinically-oriented practice scenarios which emphasize evaluation of practical knowledge of radioisotope safety and handling, as well as regulatory compliance. For more details, please refer to the RISE Study Guide.
I created the below table to have a “go to” resource for the important radionuclides, mode of production and decay, half lives, and important photopeaks all in one place. One that is not on there is Radium 223, which you probably should know is used to treat prostate cancer bone metastases (like samarium and strontium), its an alpha emitter, and it improves survival. Enjoy:
|Radionuclide||Production Method||Half Life||Decay Mode||Radiation Type and Energy (KeV)|
|Carbon 11||Cyclotron||20 minutes||β+, EC||Gamma 511|
|Nitrogen 13||Cyclotron||10 minutes||β+||Gamma 511|
|Fluorine 18||Cyclotron||110 minutes||β+||Gamma 511|
|Cobalt 57||Cyclotron||271 days||EC||Gamma 122|
|Gallium 67||Cyclotron||3.26 days||EC||Gamma 93, 185, 300, 394|
|Rubidium 82||Generator||1.3 minutes||β+, EC||Gamma 511|
|Strontium 89||Nuclear reactor/neutron activation||51 days||β-||Beta 1491|
|Yttrium 90||Generator||64 hours||β-||Beta 2284|
|Molybdenum 99||Nuclear reactor/fission||2.75 days||β-||Gamma 740|
|Technetium 99m||Generator||6 hours||IT||Gamma 140|
|Indium 111||Cyclotron||2.8 days||EC||Gamma 171, 245|
|Iodine 123||Cyclotron||13 hours||EC||Gamma 159|
|Iodine 131||Nuclear reactor/fission||8.04 days||β-||Gamma 284, 364|
|Xenon 133||Nuclear reactor/fission||5.25 days||β-||Gamma 81|
|Cesium 137||Nuclear reactor/fission||30 years||β-||Gamma 662|
|Samarium 153||Nuclear reactor/neutron activation||46 hours||β-||Gamma 103|
|Thallium 201||Cyclotron||3.04 days||EC||Gamma 167|
Key: EC – Electron Capture; IT – Isomeric transition
The graph below, a representation of the modes of radionuclide decay, is definitely high yield material for the ABR Core exam.
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