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Imaging

Nuclear Medicine studies organ structure and function and uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat disease.

Nuclear Medicine scans are performed at the following HPHA hospital site:

Stratford General Hospital: West Building, Level 1

  • Patients should enter through the Main Entrance.
  • Parking is available in Lot A off Cambria St. or Lot E off of West Gore St.
  • Active screening for COVID-19 is in effect.

Types of Nuclear Medicine Scans

Bone Scan

Bone scans are studies that detect local changes in bone metabolism. Because these changes can often be seen before any changes are detected on X-ray, the bone scan is considered more sensitive than X-rays for the detection of certain fractures, infections, and tumors in the bone.

How do I prepare for a Bone Scan?

No special preparation is required before the bone scan.

What happens during a Bone Scan?

  • You will receive an injection of a radioactive substance, usually in a vein in your arm.
  • This material travels through the bloodstream, into the soft tissue and then concentrates in the bones.
  • It takes approximately 3 hours for the injection to concentrate in the bones.
  • You may leave during the 3-hour wait. We may take some images at the time of the injection or only delayed images after the 3-hour wait.
  • You will be asked to drink fluids in the 3 hours between injection and scan and to empty your bladder frequently. This helps to clear the injected material from your soft tissue and improves the quality of the bone scan.
  • Images taken after the 3-hour delay take a total of 30-60 minutes.
  • There are a number of ways we can take images, but often a gamma camera is positioned above and below you. The camera will scan the entire length of your body.
  • We will also take some images at different angles around your body.
  • A SPECT or 3 dimensional study may be done to look at a particular area of your body in detail.

What happens after the Bone Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Gallium Scan

Gallium scans often are used to diagnose and follow the progression

of tumors or infections. Gallium scans also can be used to evaluate the heart, lungs, or any other organ that may have inflammatory disease.

How do I prepare for a Gallium Scan?

No special preparation is required before a Gallium Scan.

What happens during a Gallium Scan?

A gallium scan usually requires two visits. There are no special precautions that need to be taken in between visits.

Visit #1

  • On the first visit, you will receive an injection in a vein in your arm.
  • Your visit will take about 15 minutes.
  • There are no side effects from thee radioactive injection.

Visit #2

  • You will be scheduled to return for imaging two days later.
  • Your gallium scan will take between 1 to 2 hours.
  • For most gallium scans, you will lie on an imaging table with the camera positioned above and below you.
  • Multiple images will be taken, scanning the entire length of your body.
  • A SPECT (tomographic) study may be done to look at a particular area of your body in detail. This involves lying on an imaging table while the camera rotates 360 degrees around you.
  • Because gallium is normally excreted through the bowel, it may obstruct our view of your abdomen and pelvis. In that case we may ask you to return the following day for more imaging.

What happens after a Gallium Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Gastric Emptying Study

A Gastric Emptying Study is a procedure that uses radioactive chemicals that measure the speed with which food empties from the stomach and enters the small intestine.

  • Gastric emptying studies are used for evaluating patients who are having symptoms that may be due to slow and, less commonly, rapid emptying of the stomach.
  • The symptoms of slow emptying of the stomach are primarily nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and abdominal fullness after eating.
  • The symptoms of rapid emptying of the stomach are diarrhea, weakness, or light-headedness after eating.

How do I prepare for a Gastric Emptying Study?

  • Discontinue all stomach motility medications for 48 hours prior to your test
  • Nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the test.
  • Please contact us if you have an allergy to eggs or are sensitive to gluten. Call 519 272-8210 extension 2468 or Toll Free 1-888-275-1102 extension 2468.

What happens during a Gastric Emptying Study?

  • You will be asked to eat an egg salad sandwich that contains a radioactive material. The radioactive material does not alter the taste of the egg sandwich and has no side effects.
  • You will lie on your back on the imaging table immediately after you have eaten the sandwich for approximately 90 minutes.

What happens after a Gastric Emptying Study?

  • There are no restrictions after your study.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

HIDA Scan

HIDA which stands for hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid scan, may also be referred to as a gallbladder scan. This scan is used to evaluate upper abdominal pain, determine causes of jaundice and identify obstruction in the gall bladder.

How do I prepare for a HIDA Scan?

Do not eat or drink for four (4) hours before the test because contents in the stomach will alter the test results.

What happens during a HIDA Scan?

  • You will receive an injection of a radioactive substance, called a tracer, usually in a vein in your arm. There are no side effects from the radioactive injection.
  • After the radioactive injection, you will lie on your back on the imaging table and multiple images of the abdominal area will be taken.
  • For this test, the images are taken immediately after the tracer injection.
  • This scan takes one to two hours (or longer) because it is not possible to determine how long it will take your liver to excrete the tracer or when your gall bladder will be visible.
  • Depending upon what your doctor is looking for, the test may involve the injection of a drug (CCK/ cholecystokinin) that will stimulate or contract your gall bladder or duct. This will provide the nuclear medicine physician with more information about how well your gall bladder is working. Injection of CCK may cause some minor abdominal cramping.
  • This test can also be performed on patients who have had their gall bladders removed. In this case, an assessment of the duct system will take place.

What happens after a HIDA Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.


Lung Scan

A lung scan is also referred to as a VQ scan. This is an imaging test that uses a ventilation (V) scan to measure air flow in your lungs and a perfusion (Q) scan to see where blood flows in your lungs.

This test can help diagnose or rule out a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in your lung. A VQ scan also can detect regional differences in lung blood flow and air distribution.

How do I prepare for a Lung Scan?

No special preparation is required before the Lung Scan.

What happens during a Lung Scan?

The lung scan has two parts, ventilation and perfusion.

  • Ventilation looks at the airflow to your lungs. You will be asked to breathe in a radioactive mist. Images will be taken at various angles around your chest to assess the air pattern.
  • Perfusion looks at the blood flow to your lungs. You will receive an injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein in your arm. Images will be taken at various angles around your chest to assess the blood flow to the lungs.

There are no side effects with the radioactive mist or the radioactive injection.

What happens after the Lung Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Meckel’s Scan

This scan looks for the presence of Meckel’s Diverticulum which is an bulge in the lower part of the small intestine.

This bulge is congenital (present at birth) and is a leftover of the umbilical cord. Meckel’s Diverticulum is the most common congenital defect of the gastrointestinal tract.

How do I prepare for a Meckel’s Scan?

Nothing to eat or drink four hours before the scan.

What happens during a Meckel’s Scan?

  • A radioactive material will be injected into a vein in your arm. There are no side effects from the injection.
  • Images will be taken immediately following the injection.
  • You will lie on your back on the imaging table and multiple images of the abdominal area will be taken.
  • The scan will take one to two hours.

What happens after the Meckel’s Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan (MIBI / Stress Test)

A Myocardial Perfusion Scan, sometimes called a MIBI Test or Stress Test, is a test that helps your doctor determine if you have coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart muscle.

How do I prepare for this scan?

  • Do not eat or drink anything containing dairy products for 4 hours before the stress and rest portion of the study. Please have a light meal before your test.
  • Do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine for 24 hours before both stress studies. This includes coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, pain medications with caffeine (check labels). Decaffeinated products are not allowed as they still contain small amounts of caffeine.
  • Wear shoes and clothing suitable for exercise (e.g. flat shoes with non-slip soles) on the day of your stress study.
  • Ask the doctor who ordered this test for instructions about stopping any medications that you are taking.

What happens during the Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

There are two parts to a Myocardial Perfusion Scan, the Stress Test and the Rest Test. These parts take place over two separate days.

Stress Test

  • You will have an intravenous line inserted in your arm. A radioactive tracer will be injected into this line.
  • You will be asked to walk on a treadmill for a period of time. Those patients who are not able to walk on a treadmill will be given a drug (Persantine) that stresses your heart without exercise.
  • You will be monitored throughout the stress test (blood pressure and ECG tracings of the heart).
  • You will have images taken of your heart shortly after your stress test. The images will take approximately 20 minutes.

Rest Test

  • May take place before or after the Stress Test.
  • You will have a radioactive tracer injected into a vein in your arm.
  • 30-60 minutes after the injection, images will be taken of your heart. The images will take approximately 20 minutes.

What happens after the Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

After both Stress and Rest Tests

  • You are able to resume your normal diet.
  • Images of your heart after stress with the images of your heart at rest will be compared and a report will be sent to your doctor.

Parathyroid Scan

This scan is performed for the evaluation of a possible Parathyroid

Adenoma which is a benign tumor of the parathyroid gland. This tumor is the most common cause of hyperparathyroidism, which causes elevated levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia).

How do I prepare for a Parathyroid Scan?

No special preparation is required.

What happens during a Parathyroid Scan?

  • You will be given an injection of a radioactive material into a vein in your arm. There are no side effects.
  • The radioactive injection will need to circulate for approximately 15 minutes and then a set of images will be taken. These first images will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • A second set of images will be taken 2 hours after the radioactive injection. The second series of images will take approximately 40 minutes.

During the wait between the first and second series of images, you may leave the Imaging Department.

What happens after the Parathyroid Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Renal Scan

A renal scan studies the function and blood flow to the kidneys. The test will check how well the kidneys are working by watching the kidneys fill and empty into the bladder.

Some patients will have medications that help to assess the kidneys (Lasix or Captopril) injected prior to or during their procedure.

How do I prepare for a Renal Scan?

  • Drink plenty of fluids the day of the scan.
  • Empty your bladder as often as you need to.
  • You may need stop taking certain medications prior to this scan. Please check with your doctor.

What happens during a Renal Scan?

  • You will have an intravenous line (IV) inserted into a vein in your arm. There are no side effects to this injection
  • A radioactive material will be injected through the IV.
  • Images of your kidneys will be taken immediately. This will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.

What happens after the Real Scan?

  • There are no restrictions after your scan.
  • A written report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your scan. This process can take approximately 1 week.

Thyroid Uptake & Scan

A Thyroid Uptake & Scan measures how well the thyroid gland is functioning.

How do I prepare for a Thyroid Uptake & Scan?

If you are taking thyroid medications, a mineral supplement with iodine, or other medications or preparations that contain iodine, you may be asked to stop them for a time before this scan. Check with your doctor regarding your medications.

What happens during a Thyroid Uptake & Scan?

The uptake and scan procedures involve two visits.

Visit #1

You will be asked to swallow a small amount of radioactive iodine (in liquid form). There are no side effects. This visit should take about 15 minutes.

Visit #2

The next day you will return for a measurement of the radioiodine uptake, as well as images of the thyroid gland.

  • The uptake procedure measures the absorption of the radioactive iodine by your thyroid gland. As you sit comfortably in a chair, a detector will be positioned several inches from your neck, and the amount of the radioiodine in your thyroid gland will be recorded. This will take 5 minutes.
  • For the scan, you will lie on your back on an imaging table with the camera positioned above you. We will take several images of your thyroid. Each image takes five minutes.