Nuclear Medicine FAQs

What is a Nuclear Medicine scan?

A Nuclear Medicine scan is used to image a specific organ system in the human body by means of administering a small dose of radioactivity and looking at the physiology or function of the organ system of interest.

 

Where can I have my Nuclear Medicine scan done?

All Nuclear Medicine scans are performed at the hospital due to the sophistication of the equipment.

 

What are the hours of operation?

Washington Health System Washington Hospital performs Nuclear Medicine exams for outpatients Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Do I need an appointment?

Yes, you or your physician may call (724) 223-3110 to schedule your exam.

 

Do I need a referral or prescription for the exam?

A prescription is necessary for you to have the exam. Please remember to place the script in your wallet prior to leaving the doctors office, so it will be on your person when you arrive for the exam. If you do not have a prescription or your doctor has not sent one to the hospital, your exam may be delayed.

 

Will I need to put on a patient gown?

You will not have to change clothes as long as there are no metal snaps, buttons or zippers on your shirt or pants.

 

Is the injection a dye?

No, it is a radioactive material and it does not have side affects like some dyes.

 

Are there any reactions to the injection?

No, there are no reactions to the radioactive material.

 

How long is the radioactive material material inside me?

Most material used has a 6 hour half life, meaning ½ the radioactive material is gone in 6 hours. Most or all the material is gone within 48 hours.

 

Can I take my medications?

With most Nuclear Medicine tests, taking medications will not interfere with the test. Although, medications may interfere with stress tests or thyroid scans. Check with the Nuclear Medicine department if you are not sure.

 

How much radiation am I getting?

Most scans will give the amount of radiation similar to one chest x-ray. Therapy doses and PET scans provide more radiation but are still within safe limits as required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.