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Nuclear Medicine

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Contact:
Telephone:+44 (0) 20 7234 2710 Fax:+44 (0) 20 7234 2628
Email: nuclearmedicine@hcahealthcare.co.uk

Nuclear Medicine is a diagnostic imaging modality that involves the use of a radioactive tracer to study the physiological function of the body's organs.
It differs from other radiology modalities in that the image that is produced indicates the biological processes that occur on a cellular level, rather than giving an anatomical representation.

Please see the following procedures for further information:

Bone Scan (SPECT/CT) 

This test examines the bones, particularly blood supply and function.
A radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in the arm, which is absorbed by the bones. 
Images are acquired 3-4 hours later.

Preparation: You may eat and drink normally and go about your day as normal.
Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to notify the technologist prior to booking the appointment.

The first part of the test which involves injecting the tracer will take approximately 10 minutes. Once this is completed, you may leave the department and continue your day as normal. You will be required to return to the department 3-4 hours later. A series of scans will be performed which takes approximately 60 minutes. More specific information regarding these times will be provided on the morning of the test.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan

A myocardial perfusion scan is used to detect coronary artery disease. This test provides information on cardiac function both exercise and rest.

Preparation: Please do not have any caffeine for 24 hours prior to the test. This includes coffee (including decaffeinated), tea, soft drinks and chocolate. On the day of the test you may have a light breakfast.  If you are a smoker, please do not smoke on the day of the test. As you will be doing some exercise, please bring some suitable clothing to change into.  Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to notify the technologist prior to booking the appointment. Please allow 5 hrs for this test.

The test is performed in two parts. The first part will take place in the Cardiology department. This involves exercising on a treadmill to increase your heart rate and its workload. Whilst you are exercising, a small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected that localises to your heart. If you cannot exercise on a treadmill, a drug that simulates exercise will be used.  This part of the test is quite important as coronary artery disease can often only be diagnosed during physical stress when the heart needs to work at an increase workload.

Once you have completed the exercise, a series of images of your heart will be acquired in the Nuclear Medicine Department. These images will demonstrate how well blood is supplied to your heart during exercise. A second injection is administered later in the day and a second series of images will be acquired so that the resting blood supply to the heart can be assessed. There are no side effects from the radioactive tracer.

MAG3 Renogram

This test assesses the size and relative function of the kidneys.  It is performed by injecting a radioactive tracer into a vein in the arm. This is absorbed by the kidneys.

Preparation:  Please arrive well hydrated for this test.  Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to notify the technologist prior to booking the appointment.  Please allow 1 hour for this test.

Initially a cannula will be inserted into a vein in your arm. A pharmaceutical will be administered to increase the kidneys function. After 15 minutes a radioactive tracer will also be administered and imaging will commence immediately taking approximately 30 minutes. 

GFR - Glomerular Filtration Rate

This test investigates the function of the kidneys.  A radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in the arm, which is filtered out of the body through the kidneys. Three blood samples are taken at intervals so that the kidneys function can be assessed.  There are no side effects from the tracer.

Preparation: There is no preparation for this test. You may eat and drink normally.  Please allow 4 hours for this procedure.  Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to notify the technologist prior to booking the appointment.

The initial injection for the test takes approximately 5 minutes. You may then leave the department and continue your day as usual.  You will then be required 2, 3, and 4 hours later so that blood samples can be obtained. 

Thyroid Scan

This scan investigates the function of the thyroid. A small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in the arm that localises in the thyroid.  Images are acquired 20 minutes later, which take approximately 20 minutes. 

Preparation: There is no preparation for this test and you may eat and drink normally.  Please advise staff if you have had any other radiological contrast procedures (CT, IVU) in the past 6 weeks or take thyroxine or iodine tablets.   Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to notify the technologist prior to booking the appointment.
Please allow 45 minutes for this test.

SeHCAT Study

A SeHCAT study is used to assess bile salt malabsorption.  It is often used to investigate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic diarrhoea.  A radioactive capsule is taken orally and images acquired 2 hours and 1 week later.  Please allow 15mins for these scans.

Preparation:  Please do not have breakfast on the morning of the test.

For further information or appointments: Please contact the Nuclear Medicine department between 9am and 5pm on 020 7234 2710.