Mobile Nuclear Imaging

For the Hospital/Clinic Administrator

A Service Partnership of CRL and Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Mobile Imaging Services delivers the art and science of nuclear medicine to regional hospitals and clinics throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Through this partnership, we are able to provide world-class service to referring physicians and their patients in their own communities. Mobile Imaging Services helps regional hospitals expand their imaging service offerings with minimal operational, regulatory and financial risks. Circumstances permitting, we can also deliver nuclear imaging services via dedicated equipment, permanently installed at your facility. In all cases, we provide state-of-the-art equipment, a comfortable and caring patient environment, and rapid report turnaround time. A certified nuclear medicine technologist conducts each exam. All cardiac tests are interpreted in tandem by a nuclear cardiologist from the Minneapolis Heart Institute and a nuclear radiologist from CRL. All other exams are interpreted by CRL’s board-certified nuclear radiology team.

For more information regarding the availability of our services, please contact us.

For the Patient

The Nuclear Medicine Exam – Viewing Both Function and Structure

Nuclear imaging is a specialized area of diagnostic radiology that enables physicians to evaluate bones, cardiac blood flow and organ function to detect the presence of disease, infection or other dysfunction. These “physiologic images” of specific body processes are used to assess a wide variety of medical conditions that cannot be seen on other imaging tests. Furthermore, nuclear medicine imaging often identifies abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease.

This imaging technique uses trace amounts of radioactive materials that are detected by a special gamma camera to produce images. These materials, which are administered to patients either orally or intravenously, expose patients to minimal radiation. The benefits of nuclear imaging are substantial, providing a non-invasive and painless test that can detect problems at the molecular level.

Common Exams Performed

Myocardial Perfusion Scan – Examines coronary blood flow to the heart muscle

Hepatobiliary (HIDA) Scan – Examines gallbladder function

Gastric Emptying Scan – Examines the rate of stomach emptying

Thyroid Uptake & Scan – Quantifies hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and structure abnormalities

Bone Scan – Detects primary cancer metastases, small fractures, and infections

Lung Scan – Determines high or low probability of pulmonary embolism

About the Procedure

The scans involve injecting, swallowing or inhaling very small amounts of radioactive drugs called radiopharmaceuticals. The radiopharmaceutical selected for your scan is specific to the organ being imaged. As the radiopharmaceutical travels to the area being examined, a gamma camera detects the photons released by this radioactive material and maps their distribution.

The nuclear medicine cameras are connected to computers that process the information to produce pictures for the nuclear radiologist to interpret.

Within a few days, all traces of the radiopharmaceutical disappear from the body. These procedures are safe and painless.

There are no common side effects in nuclear medicine.

Preparation

Most nuclear medicine exams require simple preparation. Occasionally, you will be asked to discontinue certain medications for a specific length of time prior to your exam. Your physician will inform you of these requirements in advance of your exam. If you have any questions, the nuclear medicine staff of Mobile Imaging Services will be happy to help you.

Since imaging rooms can be chilly, please dress in warm, comfortable clothing devoid of metal buttons, snaps or buckles. We will ask you to remove metal objects such as belt buckles, coins and keys.

Please arrive at the hospital or clinic 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. A technologist will discuss your procedure with you, answer your questions and obtain other needed information.

Please bring your list of medications, x-rays, CT scans or other pertinent test results with you.

If you need to cancel your nuclear medicine exam, please notify your hospital or clinic at least 24 hours in advance, since the radioactive material is ordered specifically for you on the day of your exam and cannot be stored for future use.

During the Procedure

In the nuclear medicine room, you will either sit in a chair or lie on a table where a technologist will administer the radiopharmaceutical – most often by injection into an arm vein. Depending upon your procedure, images may be taken by the gamma camera during the injection. For most exams, you must wait for the radioactive material to be distributed to the organ being imaged. Waiting times vary from a few minutes to several hours. If waiting time permits, you may walk around or even leave the imaging center.

Following the required waiting time, you will lie on an imaging table with the camera above and/or below you. The camera may move very slowly around you or remain stationary, depending upon your particular exam.

You will be able to speak to the technologist at any time.

You may be asked to remain perfectly still for several minutes at a time while the image is recorded.

After the Procedure

After your exam, you will be asked to wait 10-15 minutes while the scans are finalized and shown to the Radiologist. As soon as the scans have been reviewed for clarity, you may go home. If additional scans are needed, they will be taken at this time. Unless advised otherwise by your physician, you may resume your normal diet and activities immediately.

Follow-up

A board-certified radiologist from CRL will interpret the scan and relay these findings to the referring physician, who will in turn inform you of the results. All written reports will be available to the referring physician within 24 hours. Any time immediate attention is needed; the referring physician will be contacted the day of the exam.