Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine (also called molecular imaging) includes positron emission computed tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. Nuclear imaging is achieved by injecting small amounts of radioactive material (radiopharmaceuticals) into patients before or during their scan. These can use sugars or chemical traits to bond to specific cells. The radioactive material is taken up by cells that consume the sugars. The radiation emitted from inside the body is detected by photon detectors outside the body. Computers take the data to assemble images of the radiation emissions. Nuclear images may appear fuzzy or ghostly rather than the sharper resolution from MRI and CT.  But, it provides metabolic information at a cellular level, showing if there are defects in the function of the heart, areas of very high metabolic activity associated with cancer cells, or areas of inflammation, data not available from other modalities. These noninvasive imaging exams are used to diagnose cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, bone disorders and other disorders. 

Around the web

Radiologists need better access to patient data stored in the electronic medical record, imaging IT expert Rik Primo explains. 

Imaging IT expert Rik Primo discusses emerging issues he saw at RSNA and HIMSS.

Many new imaging solutions were on display at the world's largest health informatics conference, held at McCormick Place in Chicago.

vaccine syringe covid-19 coronavirus

PET radiotracer reduces false positives owed to COVID vaccination

With COVID booster vaccinations expected to continue, the new findings are especially relevant.

January 12, 2023
University of Missouri Research Reactor

Plans for another nuclear facility that can produce medical isotopes in the works

Many of the facilities that produce these critical isotopes are aging, which is a big cause for concern in the future among experts in the field, many of whom believe that the supply chain for radioisotopes is already fragile.

January 12, 2023
cardiac amyloidosis on bone scan

Cardiac amyloidosis becoming less rare thanks to nuclear medicine studies

A new study in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine offers insight into how the condition affects the general population, as well as how radiologists can help in the cardiac amyloidosis diagnostic journey.

January 4, 2023

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to reconsider extravasation reporting requirements

The NRC noted that advancements in nuclear medicine and increased use of radiopharmaceuticals prompted the commission to reconsider the exclusion of extravasation from medical event reporting.  

January 3, 2023
Cardiac SPECT nuclear imaging myocardial perfusion_Spectrum Dynamics_RSNA22_DF_3.jpeg

ASNC 2023 president calls for nuclear cardiology to embrace new technology

American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) 2023 President Mouaz H. Al-Mallah, MD, said the subspecialty needs to up its game with new technology.

January 3, 2023
Regularly eating avocados is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Why clinicians should know if patients are on the keto diet before undergoing PET imaging

Patients adhering to a ketogenic diet can show reduced cerebral 18F-FDG uptake on PET imaging, study shows.

December 21, 2022

CMS cites 'newly published evidence' in postponement of PET coverage decision

Prior to the Dec. 15 announcement, CMS had released a different statement in June informing the public that they were reconsidering the amount of PET scans that Alzheimer’s patients undergoing monoclonal antibody treatment can receive.

December 19, 2022
A CT coronary calcium scoring exam at Northwestern Medicine's Central DuPage Hospital in the Chicago Suburbs. Dave Fornell

Trends in the number of radiology studies and a decline in radiation dose

A special report in Radiology offers a rare overview of the number of radiology exams performed each year worldwide and focuses on the decline of associated radiation doses patients receive.

December 19, 2022
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