Nuclear medicine tests are used to provide detailed pictures of certain activities happening inside the body. They are referred to as “Nuclear Medicine” since all of the testing is done with a very small amount of radioactive substance. Often times the radioactive substance is injected via an intravenous (IV) line. The radioactive substance, called radiotracers, is used as it sends signals (gamma rays), that the nuclear medicine camera picks up to generate the images. Overall, the total radiation dose received from this type of testing is similar to a standard X-ray or CT scan. 


How is this different from other testing?

Other tests, such as MRI or CT scans can show pictures of how the inside of the body looks at a given time. Nuclear medicine differs in that it looks at the changes happening inside the body, and how certain functions are working. This helps your doctor determine problem happening inside you, and choose a treatment for this problem. You may return for this type of testing again to see how well the chosen treatment is working.

What kind of testing is done this way?

• Visualizing the blood flow in the heart and how it’s functioning (myocardial perfusion scan)
• Looking for coronary artery disease (blockage of the arteries of the heart) and its extent. • Evaluating damage to the tissue of the heart after a heart attack • Looking at heart function before and after chemotherapy (MUGA) Lungs • Evaluate lung function, and look for respiratory or blood flow problems Bones • Evaluate bone tumors, or finding metastatic bone disease • Evaluate the bones for fractures, infections or arthritis Brain • Look at abnormalities in the brain in patients with symptoms or disorders like seizures, memory loss or suspected irregular blood flow • Detect early onset of neurological disorders like demetia or alzeheimers • Evaluating abnormalities in the brain or brain chemical composition causing movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease Other Systems • Evaluate inflammation or inproper function of the gall bladder • Look at the functioning of the thyroid (over or under active thyroid) • Evaluation of hyperparathyroidism