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9/15/2010 1 NUCLEAR MEDICINE TECHNOLOGY CAUTION RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL What is Nuclear Medicine? A medical specialty that uses radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease It became a medical specialty about 60 years ago 10-12 million nuclear medicine procedures are performed annually for a variety of conditions in patients of all ages There are over 100 different nuclear There are over 100 different nuclear medicine procedures for every organ system in the body A nuclear medicine test documents organ function and structure. It can identify a problem very early in the course of a disease, allowing earlier allowing earlier treatment. What is a radiopharmaceutical? Consists of two parts: 1) Radionuclide: the radioactive part of the drug that permits its detection in the body with a device called a gamma camera 2) Pharmaceutical: the chemical portion of the drug that causes it to concentrate in a particular organ or type of cell in the body The radiopharmaceutical may be injected into a vein, inhaled or ingested by the patient. One example of a commonly used radiopharmaceutical is technetium-99m medronate Radionuclide: technetium-99m or Tc-99m Pharmaceutical: medronate, the compound that causes the drug to concentrate in the bones
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9/15/2010 2 Are radioactive drugs safe? No medical procedure is completely risk free. However, for nuclear medicine testing, the benefits far outweigh the small amount of risk associated with receiving radioactivity. What is a scintillation camera? A radiation detector used to image the location of the radiopharmaceutical in the body. The radiation in the form of gamma rays is detected by the camera as it is emitted from the patient and formed into a picture with the aid of a computer. Why might a person have a nuclear medicine test or therapy? A few examples: Diagnose coronary artery disease Measure kidney function Identify the spread of cancer or evaluate cancer therapy Identify a stress fracture Diagnose a blood clot in the lung
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