Nuclear medicine specializes in the imaging of an organ’s metabolic functions. This ability
allows nuclear medicine to help in the diagnosis of certain diseases, as well as identify
various medical conditions.
With nuclear medicine, a picture is taken to show how an organ is working. An intravenous catheter is inserted into the arm or hand vein, through which a radioactive tracer is injected. A gamma camera photographs the organ and the resulting film shows normal absorption or “hot” (dark) and “cold” (light) spots, relative to how the organ is functioning. Nuclear medicine can localize cancer in the bone, identify blood clots in the lungs, and scan the kidney, gallbladder, brain and other organs for similar abnormalities.
Available procedures include:
- Thyroid update and scan
- Myocardial perfusion scan
- Whole body bone scan
- Lung ventilation and quantitative scan (V/Q)
The lung V/Q scan produces a picture of your lung ventilation as well as blood flow to the
lungs. This two-part scan first depicts how your lungs receive air. This is done with inhaled radioactive compounds that exude gamma rays that are picked up by a gamma camera. The gamma rays depict a picture of your lungs. The second part is a perfusion scan, which shows how well blood flows to your lungs.