What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine uses radioisotopes and gamma cameras to image specific parts of the body, like the heart. Radioisotopes are radioactive particles that have been refined into diagnostic pharmaceuticals. Radioactive isotopes are administered under strict safety protocols to render them practically harmless to the patient. Radioisotopes used in Nuclear medicine have a very short" half-life" because once injected they will lose their energy very rapidly. The Gamma camera is used to pick up the radioisotope signals from within the body.
What are the reasons for an Nuclear Medicine exams?
Nuclear medicine imaging is considered the "Gold Standard" for cardiac imaging. Doctors use nuclear medicine in their patients with known or suspected heart disease. It provides valuable diagnostic information about the heart. Nuclear medicine can measure how well the left heart works (ejection fraction) and demonstrates blood flow through the heart muscle (perfusion). Additionally, Nuclear medicine imaging is used to scan the bones for stress fractures and cancerous lesions. Nuclear medicine scans of the liver can demonstrate poor gallbladder function or liver diseases like cirrhosis.
What should I expect?
Please contact your healthcare provider or the Radiology Department of WRH for instruction and/or assistance with your pre-exam preparations and restrictions.
How long will the exam take?
Nuclear medicine exams are time-consuming. Most exams take between one to three hours to complete depending on the body part imaged and how many images are needed. Your nuclear medicine technologist will assist and guide you through your exam.