Nuclear Medicine provides diagnostic imaging and therapeutic services across the Trust, with departments in Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals. The departments are staffed by a mixture of clinical scientists, radiographers and clinical technologists.
Nuclear Medicine uses a radioisotope attached to a pharmaceutical which is normally injected through a vein near the elbow. The radio-pharmaceutical is designed to be taken up by a particular organ and produces gamma radiation which is detected by the gamma camera which builds up the images.
Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine
Diagnostic nuclear medicine sections are located at both of the X-Ray departments. Each site has two gamma cameras. Cheltenham has two dual head gamma cameras and Gloucester houses a SPECT-CT gamma camera and a single headed camera.
Our diagnostic tests cover a wide variety of conditions and often provide functional information about an organ or system. The radiation doses to patients from these tests are equivalent to CT and X-rays.
Typical scans performed include:
• Bone Scans
• Myocardial Perfusion Scintigraphy
• Sentinel Node
• MIBG Scan
• Renal Function
• Gastric Emptying
• Lung Perfusion
• Parathyroid and Thyroid
Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine
The therapeutic nuclear medicine service is located within the Oncology department at Cheltenham and includes the radiopharmacy.
The radiopharmacy produces and dispenses the radio-pharmaceuticals that are used for imaging and therapy purposes. Generally they contain an isotope called technetium-99m (Tc99m). Other isotopes sometimes used are iodine-123 (I-123), iodine-131 (I-131) and chromium-51 (Cr-51).
Patients undergoing therapy treatments are given larger doses and the pharmaceutical given is designed to target and kill particular cells.
Cheltenham has two therapy isolation rooms in which patients can receive their treatment. Patients often need to stay in hospital during treatment until their radioactivity levels have reduced to a safe limit.
Non-imaging tests are also performed to check kidney function (glomerular filtration rate) for patients undergoing chemotherapy.