is imaging following the administration of a small amount of a
radioisotope. It is like x-ray except that instead of an x-ray beam
passing through your body from outside, this very small dose of
radiation (radioisotope) is delivered internally via injection or
capsule and is absorbed by the body. Various organs in the body can be
imaged with this modality. These scans can provide information that is
not obtainable through other imaging exams about physiologic processes
within the body and how well organs are functioning as opposed to just
the bodyâ€™s structure. Some radioisotopes can be utilized as a treatment
for certain medical diseases.
CAN I HAVE
A NUCLEAR MEDICINE SCAN? WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
scans are safe because only small amounts of radioactive material that
have a short half life are used. The radiation risk is very low for
these scans, which carry about the same risk as an x-ray. There are no
known long-term adverse effects, and allergic reactions are extremely
should not be given to women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Please
tell your physician if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. The risks and
benefits of having a Nuclear Medicine scan should then be discussed with
your doctor to determine the best course of action. Also, please tell
the technologist if you are allergic to iodine, shellfish or any
NUCLEAR MEDICINE WORK?
Depending on the
type of Nuclear Medicine exam that you are having, you will receive
radioactive material either by IV, direct injection into the vein in
your arm, or by swallowing a capsule. The radioisotope is absorbed by
the target organ and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. These
gamma rays are detected by the nuclear camera or probe, which work
together with the help of a computer to measure the amount of
radioisotope absorbed by your body and to produce images that reveal
detailed information about the structure and function of organs and
These images may
be taken with various types of equipment. Stationary gamma cameras are
large cameras that are positioned close to the patient while the patient
lies on the imaging table. SPECT (single photon emission computed
tomography) or rotating gamma camera heads, move around the patient as
the patient lies still on the imaging table. As part of thyroid imaging,
a probe is used to measure the amount of radioactivity in the thyroid
gland. This probe is placed in front of the patientâ€™s neck and readings
PREPARATION FOR YOUR SCAN
and Triple phase bone scans:
No fasting is required. An injection is given at the appointment time
and you are required to return approximately three hours later for
imaging. During those three hours you must drink extra fluids.
scan (Hida scan) or Gastric emptying study:
Nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior or overnight. These studies
take approximately 1Â½ hours to complete.
This scan is a two-day test and no prep is required. On the first day,
you will fill out a history sheet and take a radioactive iodine capsule.
Bloodwork will be drawn if necessary. This will take approximately 15
minutes. If you are hyperthyroid, you may need to return in the
afternoon. On the second day, you will return in the morning for
Fasting is required on the day of the test. In addition, you must take
Cimitadine (Tagamet) in 200 mg tablets. One tablet is taken the day
before the test and one tablet is taken the morning of the test.
Fasting is required for this test except for two glasses of water that
should be consumed before arrival to the hospital. This test will take
about 45 minutes. No Lasix, (furosemide) or any other diuretic should be
taken the day of the test.
Fasting is required. This test will take approximately 1 Â½ to 2 hours.
perfusion stress test:
Fasting is required for this test and you should not consume any
caffeinated drinks or food the morning of the scan. Wear loose-fitting
clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Female patients are asked to
wear a bra and no pantyhose for this procedure. It is important that you
bring in a list of all medications including the milligram amounts.
Medications may be taken the day of the test unless your doctor has
instructed otherwise. This test will take approximately 3 Â½ -4 hours.
No fasting is required for this procedure unless surgery or a biopsy is
to be performed immediately after the scan. The procedure will take
approximately 1 to 1Â½ hours to perform.
ARRIVE/WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU DO
You should arrive
in the Nuclear Medicine Department on the ground floor at your
appointment time. You are already registered for the scan, so there is
no need to stop at Outpatient Registration. The Nuclear Medicine
technologist will interview you to obtain a medical history, as well as
to provide an explanation about the test and answer any questions you
If you are
receiving an injection of radioisotope, you may feel a cold sensation
moving up your arm, but there are generally no other side effects. If
you are swallowing a capsule, there will be little or no taste. It is
important that you remain still while the images are being taken so that
the best quality images can be obtained.
EXPECT AFTER THE NUCLEAR MEDICINE SCAN
There are no side
effects, after-effects or restrictions after the scan. You may perform
all activities and may take all medications after the scan is completed.
The small amount of radioisotope in your body will lose its
radioactivity and may also pass out of your body through urine or stool.
You may drink extra fluids after the scan and void more frequently to
help remove the radioisotope from your body.
radiologist or a cardiologist who is certified in Nuclear Cardiology
will interpret the films and a written report will be sent to the
ordering physician within 48 hours. The results will also be available
via internet as soon as the final report is dictated. A copy of the
final report will be forwarded to the ordering physician and/or primary
care physician who will discuss the results with you.
An appointment is
needed for all testing in Nuclear Medicine. All scans except for cardiac
perfusion stress test and lymphoscintigraphy are scheduled through
Central Scheduling at extension 2006. Cardiac perfusion stress test and
lymphoscintigraphy studies are booked in the Nuclear Medicine department
by calling extension 2136.