Nuclear Medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses small amounts of radioactive materials to examine organ function.
Unlike x-rays that pass through the tissue, nuclear medicine enables visualization of the organ, tissue but most of all, its function. The amount of radioactive material absorbed into a certain organ or tissue can indicate its level of function. By assessing this information physicians at Christian Hospital can diagnose tumors, abscesses, hematomas, organ enlargements or cysts.
How are Nuclear Medicine Scans Performed?
- An IV line will be started in the hand or arm.
- The patient will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine and a blood pressure cuff will be attached to the arm.
- The radionuclide will be injected into the vein to "tag" the red blood cells. Alternatively, a small amount of blood will be withdrawn from the vein so that it can be tagged with the radionuclide. The radionuclide will be added to the blood and will be absorbed into the red blood cells.
- After the tagging procedure, the blood will be returned into the vein through the IV tube. The progress of the tagged red blood cells through the heart will be traced with a scanner.
- A gamma camera will obtain images of the heart as it pumps the blood through the body.
- The patient may be asked to change positions during the test; however, once the position has been changed, the patient will need to lie still without talking.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with the diagnostic imaging center, call Christian Hospital at 314.747.9355 or 877.747.9355 or email us.