Nuclear medicine is a unique form of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose, determine the severity of, and treat a variety of diseases—including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, neurological disorders and other abnormalities in the body.
Nuclear medicine frequently detects abnormalities in their very early developmental stages—long before they are revealed by traditional diagnostic tools. These procedures provide information that would otherwise require invasive surgery or more expensive testing. Another benefit of nuclear medicine is that physicians can review test results almost immediately.
Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in relatively low radiation exposure levels that are acceptable for diagnostic exams. It is a safe, painless, and non-invasive method for diagnosis and treatment, and has been used for more than five decades.
Ocean Beach Hospital uses nuclear medicine to perform heart stress testing in our Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. The most common reasons a doctor will order this test are:
- To determine if a patient’s chest pain or shortness of breath is the result of a partial blockage of the arteries
- To follow up on stent placement after a patient undergoes heart surgery
- To prepare a patient for an upcoming surgery (or to determine if a patient is able to undergo a procedure)
In addition to heart stress tests, we provide bone scans, thyroid scans, and scans of other parts of the body.