Benefit and risks of the test
Everyone receives some radiation every day from the radioactivity in the air, food we eat and even from space. The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine test is similar to your natural exposure over one year so the risks associated with it are low.
The main benefit of the test is making the correct diagnosis, so you can get the treatment that is right for you. This benefit is far greater than the small risk from radiation.
What does the test involve?
The test involves lying on a bed over the Gamma Camera (see picture in leaflet) before being given a small injection of a radioactive tracer into one of the veins in your hands or arms. As soon as the injection has been given, pictures are taken continuously for 30 minutes to produce a cine film of the kidneys working. It is important to avoid any blurring of the pictures and so you must lie as still as possible whilst they are taken. You may also be given an injection of a diuretic during the scan, which will help your kidneys work harder.
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding you must inform the department as quickly as possible as special arrangements may have to be made.
If you take Water Tablets (also known as Diuretics) do not take any tablets on the day of the test and bring your tablets with you when you attend. Please bring with you a list of any medication that you are on (your repeat prescription sheet if possible).
Please eat and drink as normal.
After the test
You must take extra care to wash your hands thoroughly after toilet use, sit down when you use the toilet and to flush the toilet twice. You must also continue to drink extra fluids for the rest of the day and empty your bladder frequently. This will improve the clearance of the radiation from your body.
When the test is completed, the images will be reviewed and a report will be available to the doctor who has requested the test.
The Gamma Camera used to take the pictures has an open design and the majority of patients complete the test without any discomfort.
Department of Nuclear Medicine
Lincoln County Hospital 01522 573103
Grantham Hospital 01476 464777