Nuclear Laboratory

What to Expect

Nuclear imaging can be done in a hospital or in an outpatient healthcare facility.  An electrocardiogram is usually taken before nuclear imaging begins.  An IV, or intravenous catheter, is placed in the arm to administer the tracer.  The patient lies on his or her back on a padded table under a camera.  A small amount of tracer is injected into the catherter, and then the camera moves, capturing images at different angles or rotating slowly around the patient.

Pre-Test Guidelines

Patients are advised to avoid the following prior to nuclear imaging:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages and
  • Taking nonprescription medications.

In some instances patients may be asked to discontinue a prescription medication.

Risk Factors for Possible Complications

Nuclear imaging is not advisable for pregnant or nursing women.

Nuclear imaging scans are normally completed in 4 to 6 hours.

Possible Complications

Complications associated with nuclear imaging include a slight risk of angina or arrhythmias.

Post-Test Guidelines

Patients are advised to drink fluids to flush radioactive tracer.

A Valuable Diagnostic Tool

Carolina Heart Specialists, LLC is dedicated to providing area residents with world class heart care right in our neighborhood.  Providing expertise in Nuclear Imaging is just one more example of our dedication to providing the best medical care possible to you and your family.

About Nuclear Imaging

During nuclear imaging, a small dose of a radioactive isotope is injected ito the bloodstream.  The radioactive or tracer, is carried through the bloodstream and into the myocardium, or heart muscle.  Special cameras detect the radiation released fromthe tracers and record information about the heart muscle and blood flow.  The information is then used toproduce images of the heart on a computer screen or film.  The radioactive isotopes used in nuclear imaging lose their radioactivity quickly and typically pass from the body within 24 hours.

Among the types of nuclear imaging are:

  • Myocardial perfusion scan which is used to evaluate blood flow.
  • Radionuclide ventriculography which measures ejection fraction, stroke volume, and cardiac output.