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Nuclear medicine

Diagnosing and treating diseases using radioactive tracers to assess how your body is working, including SPECT scans

Close up of surgeons reviewing scans obtained through nuclear medicine diagnostic imaging
Nuclear medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging that investigates functional and physiological conditions. A broad range of health conditions can be tested, understood and diagnosed through nuclear medicine scans. These include issues with organs, bones and tissues.

Nuclear medicine imaging is carried out by administering small amounts of radioactive tracers. These are usually injected, swallowed or inhaled. The Nuclear Medicine radiographer or technologist will then place you in a gamma camera to see how the tracer behaves inside your body. This helps them understand how your body is functioning.

We also offer SPECT scans, which are nuclear imaging procedures that help create 3D pictures. For some scans, a low dose CT is obtained to help with localisation of abnormalities, such as damage, injuries or cancer. It can also compensate for gamma ray absorption within your body.

At Circle Health Group we have a network of talented consultants and radiologists who use the latest techniques in nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat a wide variety of health conditions. If you have been told you could benefit from nuclear imaging, or would like to learn more about our services, call us to speak to one of our dedicated advisors.

Nuclear medicine at our hospitals will be carried out by our multidisciplinary team, comprising dedicated consultants, nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, nurses and more.

Nuclear medicine is used in the diagnostic investigation of a wide range of chronic and life-threatening diseases and conditions including:

  • Detection of coronary heart disease
  • Evaluating the damage to the heart after a heart attack
  • Assessment of heart function both before and after chemotherapy
  • Assessment of lungs for respiratory and blood flow issues
  • Identifying lung transplant rejection
  • Identifying bone fractures and arthritis
  • Assessing bone tumours
  • Identifying neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Identifying brain tumours
  • Investigation of neurological disorders such as memory loss
  • Investigation of gastrointestinal disease

Nuclear medicine is also used in the treatment of:

  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Lymphomas
  • Bone pain from cancer and blood disorders

At Circle Health Group, our experts offer a variety of nuclear medicine imaging procedures that can be used to assess the function of your body, monitor how treatments are working and in some instances administer treatment.

Amyloid scan

An amyloid scan is used to determine the anatomy and function of your heart to find the extent of amyloid deposits. Amyloid deposits are a build-up of an abnormal protein in the body. They can make it difficult for your organs and tissues to function properly.

The first appointment lasts for 30 minutes. A tracer is injected into a vein in your arm or hand, which is like having a blood test. The second appointment, three hours later, lasts for approximately 45 minutes and is when the images are acquired.

Myocardial perfusion scan

This test is used to assess the blood flow to your heart wall muscle (myocardium) using a radioactive tracer. There are two parts: the 'stress' where the heart is stressed by exercise or medication and the 'rest' scan, where the heart's natural flow is observed. The test identifies the differences in the blood flow to your heart wall muscle between 'stress' and 'rest'. This helps identify what may be causing your symptoms.

Myocardial perfusion scans can identify potential signs of coronary artery disease, specifically obstruction. They are also used to look for heart attack damage.

DMSA scan

This is an examination of the kidneys which gives information on their size, shape and position. Their function may also be measured. DMSA stands for dimercaptosuccinic acid. This substance has a radioactive tracer attached, which localises in your kidneys.

SeHCAT scan

A SeHCAT study is a procedure that measures how well your body is absorbing bile salts. Bile salts are made in the liver to help digest fats in the small bowel and then should be absorbed back into your body. Sometimes damage and disease mean this cannot happen properly.

As part of this study, you will swallow a gelatine capsule which contains a small dose of radioactive material bound to a bile salt. This will not make you feel any different. You will be required to come back two hours later, then seven days later.

MAG3 Scan

Renal function can be assessed including differential function between the kidneys using this technique.

Your treatment journey with Circle Health Group will usually start with an initial consultation with a relevant specialist. To arrange this, you can call us directly or use our online booking system.

If you have been referred to us directly to have a specific scan or test, give us a call. Our advisors will help you to arrange the procedure you need.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standards and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about nuclear medicine, book your specialist consultation online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by consultant radiologist Dr Anthony Lopez in April 2023. Next review due April 2026.

  1. Mount Alvernia Nuclear Medicine, Mount Alvernia PET CT
  2. Radiation in Healthcare: Nuclear Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Nuclear medicine scans for cancer, American Cancer Society
  4. Nuclear medicine, NIH

Specialists offering Nuclear medicine

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