Shah Medical Group | 301-373-7900

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a division of radiology that images body functions (as opposed to body structures). It uses only a small dose of radiation and is an attractive, non-invasive alternative to exploratory surgery.

First, a radioactive material (called a tracer) is given orally or by intravenous injection. Once inside the body, the tracer collects in certain areas and reacts with body tissue to produce gamma radiation. All types of nuclear medicine scanning apparatus measure this radiation.

After the tracer is absorbed, the patient lies down on the scanning table and is placed beneath or inside the scanning device (depending on the unit). Cameras detect the emitted gamma radiation, and a computer processes and displays high-quality images.

Nuclear Cardiology

Studying tissue function with nuclear medicine aids in the diagnosis of many kinds of diseases, tumors, infection and other disorders in the brain, heart, lungs, bone, bowel, kidneys, thyroids and other internal structures. Nuclear cardiology focuses on imaging the heart to locate or diagnose problems with the heart. Scans may be performed in conjunction with other types of imaging (CT, MRI, X-ray) or with stress tests to determine the cause of unexplained chest pain.

Nuclear Medicine Preparation

  • Bone Scan/Lung Scan
    No prep required
  • Gallbladder (Hepatobiliary) Scan
    4-6 hrs prior to appointment – nothing by mouth.
  • Thyroid Scan
    No prep, unless the patient is already on thyroid medication. This medication is not to be taken within two weeks prior to this exam.
  • Cardiolite Scan
    Nothing by mouth 3-4 hrs prior to exam. Some heart medications should be discontinued within 24 hours prior. Please consult your physician regarding those that apply to you. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear for the treadmill portion of the exam.

Ultrasound Preparation

  • Echocardiogram Stress Test
    No prep required
  • Carotid/Arterial/Venous/Echocardiogram/Stress Echocardiogram/ Renal Artery
    No prep required
  • Breast/Thyroid/Extremity/Scrotal/Transvaginal
    No prep required
  • Fetal and Pelvic
    Empty bladder 1-1/2 hours before appointment time. One hour before appointment drink at least one quart of water or other fluid. Do not empty bladder until after exam.
  • Gallbladder/RUQ/Abdomen/Liver/Pancreas
    A fat-free meal the evening before.

 » Foods permitted:

  • Fruit juice/fat free broth
  • Dry toast with jelly
  • Baked, boiled mashed potatoes/rice
  • Plain cooked bland vegetable
  • Canned fruit or fruit gelatin
  • Coffee or tea with sugar
  • Salt may be taken

» Foods not permitted:

  • Meat
  • Fried or baked foods
  • Butter or cream
  • Fat or oil
  • Milk or other dairy products

» Nothing by mouth after midnight.

» Do not smoke morning of exam.