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Nuclear Medicine LMH Services

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear MedicineNuclear Medicine involves the introduction of tiny amounts of radioactive tracers into the body which are specifically designed to be attracted to the area(s) of interest. After a short waiting period (0-3 hours), a special camera is used to record the distribution of the tracer within the body. While Nuclear Medicine is generally used to diagnose, it may also be used to treat certain conditions such as hyperthyroidism.

The Nuclear Medicine department includes (2) Philips dual-head Forte SPECT cameras (shown at right) and (1) dual head Axis SPECT camera (not shown). Cardiac and all general nuclear studies are performed routinely. Two treadmill rooms are located close to the Forte units for efficiency in cardiac imaging.

Registration
Patients scheduled for Nuclear Medicine exams are required to register in Center for Outpatient Care. The Center for Outpatient Care is located behind the main hospital, off Old Tusculum Road.

Preparation Prior to Procedure
No preparation is needed except for:

  • Thyroid Scans - A low iodine diet is necessary for three days prior to an examination. Avoid eating seafood, salt, white bread and dairy products. This study cannot be performed if you have had iodinated contrast such as that used in CT Scanning or IVP studies or thyroid medications within the past six weeks.
  • HIDA Scans - Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.
  • Cardiac Imaging - For cardiac stress studies, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam. Do not take any heart or blood pressure medications the night before or the morning of your procedure. Bring your medications with you to resume taking them following your exam.
  • Gastric Emptying Study - Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.

Length of Procedure
There are a variety of nuclear medicine procedures, but they encompass three principal steps: administering the medication, obtaining images, and analyzing the images. Some nuclear medicine tests take 45 minutes and some can vary from a few hours to a few days depending upon the type of test.

Post-exam Instructions
Resume normal activities right away. If you were asked to temporarily stop taking any medication prior to the test, or if your doctor changed your usual dosage because of the test, be sure to ask when and if you should resume taking your medications.

If you think you may be pregnant, please inform your physician or the technologist before your exam.

If you have a known contrast allergy, please contact your physician or the imaging location where you are having your exam as soon as possible.

Results of Exam
A radiologist will interpret your exam and a transcribed report will be sent to the ordering physician.

Requesting Films
If your physician requested you to bring your images to your next office visit, please mention this to the radiology staff, and a CD will be ready for you shortly after your exam.

If anytime after your exam a physician asks you to bring your study images to your office visit, please call the Radiology department at (423) 787-5100 at least 24-hours in advance and a CD will be prepared for you to pick up. CD’s can also be mailed to your physician. The corresponding radiologist’s report will also be on that CD. If you need a paper copy of the report, this must be requested and obtained from the Health Information Management department (formerly “Medical Records department”).

Medical Professionals interested in our current imaging equipment click here.