Nuclear Medicine Studies Using a Gamma Camera

The function of a human body can be examined with short-lived radioactive markers or radio nuclides. In most cases in a nuclide medicine study, the radio nuclide used is administered to the patient as an intravenous or tissue injection. In some cases, the radiopharmaceutical is administered orally or via a respiratory gas. The radioactive marker is bound to a carrier molecule that it uses to seek the desired target in the body.

Radioactive nuclides emit gamma radiation that can be scanned with a gamma camera. The camera can detect even very small amounts of radiation. Nuclear medicine scanning is used to obtain information about the function or metabolism of the examined target. For example, a single image can be used to examine the spread of the radiopharmaceutical in the scanned target area or several consecutive images can be used to examine how fast the radiopharmaceutical is carried through the scanned site.

Nuclear medicine studies can be used to examine e.g. the circulation of coronary arteries, the function of the kidneys, the metabolism of the skeletal system or the functioning of receptors in the brain.

Although a nuclear medicine study involves an injection of a radioactive agent, the radiation dose to patient is no greater than in a CT study.