Nuclear imaging is a method of diagnostic testing. Patients are injected with a radioactive isotope that will attach itself to specific proteins or cells. They are then scanned with a special camera that will "light up" in the areas where the isotope has collected.

The type of isotope used depends on the purpose of the test. For example, pyrophosphate is an isotope that is particularly good at attaching to necrotic (dead) muscle. It can identify an area of muscle death, such as the heart wall after a heart attack or leg muscle that has been deprived of blood flow following a traumatic accident. Another isotope used is attracted to white blood cells. This type of isotope can help to identify an area of abscess.

Patients must be transported to the nuclear medicine department to have nuclear imaging.




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Last Updated March 24, 2009 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada