White Plains Hospital's Radiology Department performs a variety of nuclear medicine exams and nuclear cardiology testing. To aid physicians in their diagnoses, these tests use radioactive material called tracers that are either given orally or by injection. The tracers collect inside the body; cameras detect the gamma radiation emitted by the tracer, and a computer processes and displays the results in high-quality images. The following nuclear medicine exams are performed in the Radiology Department:
- Bone scan - a test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown. Bone scans can be used on the entire body, or just a part of it, to evaluate damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread or metastasized, and monitor conditions that can affect the bones such as infections or trauma. A bone scan can often find problems sooner than a regular X-ray can.
- SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) - performed by using a gamma camera to capture images from various angles, which are then reconstructed by a computer to produce 3-D images. The results can show thin slices of a section of the body, similar to those obtained through MRI, CT and PET scans.
- Thyroid scan - used to check thyroid gland function and can show overactive or underactive areas of the thyroid. Testing can also be performed on people who have had thyroid cancer, helping identify if the cancer has spread.
- Lung scan - a test commonly used to detect a clot or pulmonary embolism, which prevents normal blood flow to a part of the lung. The tests are performed in two ways that are usually done together, a ventilation scan where radioactive tracer gas is inhaled and a perfusion scan where the tracer is injected intravenously. If the lungs are working normally, the blood flow on the perfusion scan matches air flow on a ventilation scan. A mismatch between the two may indicate a pulmonary embolism.
- Nuclear Cardiology - testing is a non-invasive means of assessing blood flow to the heart and the heart's pumping function, and provides more clinical information than a traditional stress test. In one of the most common exams, myocardial perfusion imaging, the patient is injected with a radioactive dye first while resting and again while exercising on a treadmill. The patient then lies under a camera at rest and after exercise. The camera records how much of the radioactive material has been taken up by the heart, and shows clearly where blood flow is weak.
If you would like your physician to schedule a nuclear medicine exam at White Plains Hospital, please have him or her contact the Radiology Department at 914-681-1260.