Nuclear Medicine Scans

Nuclear medicine is opposite of x-ray, in that a small amount of radioactive drug is injected into the patient and collects in the body area to be studied. A special machine called a gamma camera is used to image the area, and a computer processes the information.

Nuclear Medicine – bone scan
Purpose

A bone scan is used to detect areas of bone infection, new bone growth, tumors, fractures, etc. A small dose of radioactive material is injected into a vein and carried through the bloodstream, where it will concentrate in the bones.

Preparation
  • You may go ahead and eat and drink as is routine for you.
  • Please be at the X-ray admissions office at least 15 minutes before your scheduled testing time.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • You should plan on your test requiring at least three to four hours from beginning to end.
Procedure
  • After you finish your admission procedure, you will be given an injection in a vein.
  • You will be allowed to leave the hospital and given instructions to return in about 2-1/2 hours.
  • You will need to drink extra fluids during this waiting time and empty your bladder as often as possible.
  • When you return, you will be asked to lie down on the scan table and to lie very still.
  • Scan images will be taken of your entire body.
  • Extra scan views and/or x-rays may also be taken to provide as much information as possible.
  • The scan will take at least 45 minutes.
After the exam
  • You should drink extra fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - Gallbladder (Choliscintiscan)
Purpose

A nuclear gallbladder study is used to help determine gallbladder function and diagnose gallbladder disease.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan to spend a minimum of two hours in the Radiology Department for your exam. However, your exam could take up to four hours.
  • You should not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours prior to your exam.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Procedure
  • You may be asked to take your clothes off and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • You will receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein.
  • You will be asked to lie still while a series of scan images are taken at various intervals for one hour.
  • Delayed scan images may need to be taken at two and four hours after injection.
  • You may or may not be given a second injection of a substance which will stimulate your gallbladder to contract. The decision on whether or not you will receive this second injection is based upon your doctor’s orders, your patient history, and/or the results of the first part of your exam, as determined by the Radiologist. Not all patients will require this second injection.
After the exam
  • You may resume your normal diet and activity.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • Your exam results will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - Lung Scan
Purpose

Lung scans are used most frequently to detect blood clots in the lungs.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan on being in the Radiology Department one to two hours for your exam.
  • Wear loose comfortable clothing.
  • You may eat and drink as is routine for you.
Procedure
  • You will be given an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein in your arm.
  • A chest x-ray will usually be taken.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table and several scan images will be taken of your lungs.
  • You may be asked to breathe a radioactive vapor through a special face mask, after which more scan images will be taken.
After the test
  • You may resume your normal activities and diet.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850

Nuclear Medicine - Thyroid Scan
Purpose

A nuclear scan of the thyroid is used to help diagnose disorders of the thyroid gland in the neck.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan to be in the Radiology Department one to two hours for your exam.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • You should be off any thyroid medications for at least one week prior to the exam. If you normally take thyroid medication, please let your ordering physician know this. The Nuclear Medicine department can let your physician know how long you need to be off your medication prior to a nuclear thyroid exam.
  • You may continue your normal diet and activities prior to the exam.
Procedure
  • You will be given an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein.
  • About 30 minutes after you receive the injection, you will be asked to lie down on the scan table, while a series of scan images are taken.
  • The Radiologist will feel of your neck, so that he can get an idea of the size and shape of your thyroid gland.
After the exam
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • Your exam results will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - M.U.G.A. Cardiac Scan
Purpose

A M.U.G.A. scan is used to study blood flow as it travels through the chambers of the heart. This study helps to show function and demonstrates how efficiently the heart works.

Preparation
  • You should not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to your scheduled study.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • If you are an outpatient, please be in the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan on spending one to two hours in the Radiology Department for your exam.
Procedure
  • You will have a small amount of blood taken from a vein. This will be mixed with a small amount of radioactive material. This mixing process takes about 20 minutes.
  • You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • Some patches will be placed on your chest, so that your heart activity can be monitored during the scan imaging.
  • After the appropriate mixing time, you will be given an injection of your radioactive blood into a vein.
  • You will be asked to lie very still, while a series of scan images of your heart will be taken.
After the exam
  • You may resume your normal activities and diet.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - Liver Scan
Purpose

A nuclear liver scan is used to help diagnose tumors and certain liver disorders. The scan will help to show how well the liver and spleen are functioning.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You may eat and drink as normal.
  • You should plan to spend at least 1-1/2 hours in the Radiology Department for your exam.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Procedure
  • You will be given an injection in a vein in your arm, consisting of a small amount of radioactive material that will travel through your blood stream and concentrate in your liver.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • About 15 minutes after you receive the injection, the technologist will begin taking a series of scan pictures of your liver.
  • You will be asked to hold very still while the pictures are being taken
After the exam
  • You should drink lots of fluids during the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850

Nuclear Medicine - Abdominal Scan for Meckel's Diverticulum
Purpose

A Meckel’s diverticulum is a small out-pouching of tissue found in the small bowel, usually on the right lower side of the abdomen. It can cause symptoms similar to appendicitis. Since everyone does not have a Meckel’s diverticulum, this scan can help to rule out the presence or absence of this abnormality in patients who are having the appropriate symptoms.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan to spend one to two hours in the Radiology Department for your exam.
  • You should not eat or drink anything for six to eight hours prior to the scheduled time for your study.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Procedure
  • You may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • You will be given an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein.
  • You will be asked to hold very still, while a series of scan images are made at 15-minute intervals for one hour.
After the exam
  • You may resume your normal activities and diet.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - GI Bleeding Scan
Purpose

A GI (Gastrointestinal) bleeding scan is used to help locate a site of bleeding within the bowel.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan to spend two to four hours in the Radiology Department for your exam.
  • You should not eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Procedure
  • You will have about three CCs (cubic centimeters) of blood taken from a vein. This will be mixed with a small amount of radioactive material. This mixing process takes about 20 minutes.
  • You may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • After the appropriate mixing time, you will be given an injection of your radioactive blood into a vein.
  • You will be asked to lie very still while a series of scan images of your abdomen are taken. The initial set of images will be taken at intervals for the first hour of the exam. Delayed images at two and four hours after injection will also be taken. Further delayed images may be taken if indicated.
After the exam
  • You may resume your normal activities and diet.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - Renal Scan
Purpose

A nuclear renal scan is used to investigate structure, function and blood supply to the kidneys.

Preparation
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should plan to spend two to four hours in the Radiology Department for your exam.
  • You should drink one pint to one quart of fluid during the hour prior to your scheduled exam time.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • If this study is being done to evaluate your kidneys for certain conditions related to high blood pressure, you will receive further instructions from your physician or a nuclear technologist.
Procedure
  • You may be asked to remove your clothing and put on a hospital gown.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • You will be given an injection of a small amount of radioactive material in a vein.
  • You will be asked to lie very still, while a series of scan images are taken at intervals over a period of approximately 30 minutes.
After the exam
  • You may resume your normal activities and diet.
  • You should drink lots of fluids for the rest of the day.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

Nuclear Medicine - Myocardial (Heart) Scan - Stress/Rest
Purpose

A Myocardial Scan is a test designed to study the blood flow to the muscles of your heart. It also allows the physician to monitor you for disturbances in your heart pattern, while your heart is being stressed. Some patients are stressed by walking on a treadmill, while others may be stressed by receiving medicines that cause the heart to speed up.

If you are able to walk, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill during the initial part of this test. The treadmill will start out at a slow rate of speed. Every three minutes, the treadmill will increase in speed, and the incline will get steeper. The incline will make you feel like you are walking up a hill. This will cause your heart to beat faster. When your heart rate reaches a certain point, a small amount of radioactive material called Cardiolite will be given to you. This substance will allow us to see the pattern of blood flow to the muscles of your heart, through a series of images taken by a special camera.

If you cannot walk on a treadmill, you may receive a medicine, such as Persantine, Dobutamine or Adenosine, which will cause the heart to beat faster -- the same effect that exercise would have on the heart. When your heart rate reaches a certain point, a small amount of radioactive material called Cardiolite will be given to you. This substance will allow us to see the pattern of blood flow to the muscles of your heart, through a series of images taken by a special camera.

Preparation
  • Do NOT eat or drink anything for six hours prior to your scheduled testing time.
  • Do NOT take asthma medications for 24 hours prior to your scheduled testing time, if so instructed by your physician.
  • If you are an outpatient, please be at the main admissions office 45 minutes before the time your test is scheduled.
  • You should wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Family members accompanying you may wait in our waiting room, while you are having your test.
  • You should plan on spending three to four hours at the hospital for the completion of your test.
  • You must be able to lie on your back, with both arms resting over your head. If you cannot do this, please inform your physician.
Procedure

Part 1

  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie down on a stretcher.
  • An RN will start an IV in your arm to receive the medication.
  • A Respiratory Therapy technologist will place several stickers on your chest, so that an EKG machine can monitor your heart.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm, so that your blood pressure can be monitored during the procedure.

If you are to receive medications to stress your heart...

  • You will be given the medication through the IV line. A physician will monitor your heart rate and response while you are receiving the medication. The most common side effects of the medication are a feeling of dizziness, heart palpitations and a flushed feeling. You should make the physician aware, if you notice any of these side effects or any other unusual symptoms.
  • (NOTE: If you are to receive medications to stress your heart, do NOT take asthma medications for 24 hours prior to your scheduled exam time.)

If you are to walk on the treadmill...

  • The Respiratory Technologist will give you instructions about walking on the treadmill.
  • While you walk on the treadmill, a physician will monitor your heart rate and response to the exercise.
  • At the end of the stress medication injection or treadmill exercise, a nuclear medicine technologist will give you the injection of Cardiolite through the IV line.
  • You will then be taken to the Nuclear Medicine Department and asked to lie down on the exam table, while the nuclear camera slowly circles your chest area to take special pictures of your heart. You MUST lie very still, with your arms resting up over your head away from your chest area for about 25 minutes.
  • When this part of the test is finished, you will be scheduled for Part 2 of your test, which will usually be done on the following day. Then you will be allowed to leave the hospital.

Part 2

Part 2 of your test will take place on the next day and will involve taking pictures of your heart, as it functions with your body at rest.

  • When you arrive for Part 2, you will be given a second injection of Cardiolite.
  • Thirty minutes after this second injection, you will return to the Nuclear Department to have a second set of pictures made of your heart. When this set of pictures is complete, your test is finished, and you will be allowed to dress and leave the hospital.
After the exam
  • You may return to your normal routine and diet.
  • You should drink extra fluids.
  • The results of your exam will be reported to your physician within 24 hours.

We apologize for the fact that this can be a very long test. Please know that every action will be taken to make you and your family members as comfortable as possible and to minimize your stay.

If you have any further questions, please call the Radiology Department at 256.218.3850.

 

Highlands Imaging Center

Highlands Imaging Center
Phone: 256.218.3850