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Nuclear Medicine (NM)

 Nuclear medicine scans are safe and non-invasive. Nuclear medicine involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials (tracers) to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. Nuclear medicine exams involve the injection, inhalation or swallowing of radioactive materials.

Specialized cameras detect the energy released by the tracer to generate images of the body or specific organs or tissues. The timing of your images is dependent on the type of organ/tissue being examined and the length of time for the tracer to localize. Nuclear Medicine studies provide information on organ/ tissue structure and function, these images are then reviewed by the Nuclear Medicine physician.

The radioactive tracer loses its energy rapidly and is eliminated naturally by the body. To reduce the time it takes for this to occur, you should drink plenty of fluids and void frequently.

The QHC Nuclear Medicine department's newest piece of equipment is a Spectrum Dynamics D-Spect Cardiac Imaging System installed in 2011.

Nuclear medicine can provide information about many organs and organ systems including skeletal cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, respiratory and endocrine studies.

How to Book a Nuclear Medicine Exam

Most Nuclear Medicine requisitions must be reviewed by a Nuclear Medicine physician before an appointment is made. Your physician will send a NM requisition to the Diagnostic Imaging department and an appointment time will be provided to you through your family physician's office.

Nuclear Medicine procedures require the injection of radiopharmaceuticals which are prepared specifically for your exam and may need to be ordered in advance. If you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, please notify the department forty eight (48) hours in advance at 613 969 7400 ext 2494.

Attending the Exam

Please register for the exam in the Nuclear Medicine department in the basement of the Quinte Building at QHC Belleville General Hospital. Use the staff elevators in the Quinte Building and follow the signs for Nuclear Medicine. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes before the exam and have your health care card ready.

Preparing for the Exam

Cardiac Exam: Cardiac exams are used to investigate myocardial perfusion or ventricular function. These exams have very specific preparation instructions which will be provided by your physician. You will be asked to follow either Side A directions or Side B directions. Depending on your medical history this exam may be either a one or two day exam. Contact the Nuclear Medicine office at 613 969 7400 ext 2417 if you have any questions about this exam.

Bone Scan: This is a two part exam with a radiopharmaceutical (tracer) injection and imaging which is done two (2) to three (3) hours later. You may be asked to change your clothing for the procedure, and remove any metallic or dense objects located in the areas to be imaged. There is no preparation for this exam.

Bone Mineral Density: A BMD exam uses x-rays to image the hips and lumbar spine so measurements of bone density can be determined. Please do not take any calcium supplements twenty four (24) hours prior to the exam. You may be asked to change your clothing for the procedure, and remove any metallic or dense objects located in the areas to be measured. This exam will take approximately fifteen (15) minutes to complete.

Carbon 14 Urea Breath Test: This exam is performed to determine the presence of Helicobacter Pylori, a bacteria that can cause gastritis and stomach ulcers. It is important that you follow the exam preparation instructions carefully as failure to do so will decrease the sensitivity of the test. Click here for the full patient preparation instructions.

Patient Information