Syringe calibration factors for the NPL Secondary Standard Radionuclide Calibrator for selected medical radionuclides

Appl Radiat Isot. 2003 Nov-Dec;59(5-6):367-72. doi: 10.1016/j.apradiso.2003.08.002.


Before a radiopharmaceutical is administered to a patient, its activity needs to be accurately assayed. This is normally done via a radionuclide calibrator, using a glass vial as the calibration device. The radionuclide is then transferred to a syringe and it is now becoming common practice to re-measure the syringe and use this value as the activity administered to the patient. Due to elemental composition and geometrical differences, etc. between the glass vial and the syringe, the calibration factors are different for the two containers and this can lead to an incorrect activity being given to the patient unless a correction is applied for these differences. To reduce the uncertainty on syringe measurements, syringe calibration factors and volume correction factors for the NPL Secondary Standard Radionuclide Calibrator have been derived by NPL for several medically important radionuclides. It was found that the differences between the calibration factors for the syringes and glass vials depend on the energies of the photon emissions from the decay of the radionuclides; the lower the energy, the greater the difference. As expected, large differences were observed for 125I (70%) and only small differences for 131I. However, for radionuclides such as 99mTc and 67Ga, differences of up to 30% have been observed. This work has shown the need for the use of specifically derived syringe calibration factors as well as highlighting the complexity of the problem with regard to syringe types, procurement, etc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Glass
  • Radioisotopes / standards*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / standards*
  • Syringes / standards*
  • United Kingdom


  • Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals