Arkansas Methodist Medical Center
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The Joint Commission

Nuclear Medicine

This gives physicians another way to look inside the body. The purpose of this diagnostic study is to provide an image that evaluates organ function and locates disease or tumors. Nuclear scans also show the size, shape, and position of the organ being scanned. We provide routine procedures as well as stress tests on a dual head gamma camera. The patient receives radioactive material (an isotope) in one of several ways: injection, capsules, liquid, or inhalation. The isotope travels to the target organ and tissue and gives off gamma rays that can only be seen with special equipment.  The extent to which the tracer is absorbed or "taken up," by a particular organ or tissue may indicate the level of function of that system. A diseased or poorly functioning organ will emit a different signal than a healthy organ. One of the unique features of a nuclear medicine scan is that is shows the "function" of the organ or tissue being evaluated as opposed to just a picture. this helps to determine if the organ is working properly.

Nuclear Medicine scans can be used to assist your healthcare provider in diagnosing disease, tumors, infection and other disorders by evaluating organ function. Some of the specific reasons it may be used include:

-analyzing kidney function

-image blood flow and function to the heart

-scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems

-identify blockage of the gallbladder

-determine the presence or spread of cancer

-measure thyroid function

-evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor

-locate the presence of infection

Nuclear Medicine carries about the same risk as a common x-ray.