Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Scan
A nuclear medicine thyroid scan uses a radioactive medication (radiopharmaceutical) to take pictures or images of the thyroid gland. The…Read more
There are no pre-requisites for this study.
This study may not be suitable for pregnant women. The benefit versus risk should be discussed with the nuclear medicine specialist.
Women who are breastfeeding and people who are the primary or sole carer for small children may need to make special preparations after the test to stop breastfeeding for a short time and to avoid close contact with young children due to the small amount of radioactivity released for a while after the test. Patients should discuss this with their referring doctor or the nuclear medicine practice where they will have the test for details. See nuclear medicine for further information about the precautions to take with nuclear medicine studies for breastfeeding patients and those in close contact with children.
There are no relative contraindications. Even very obese patients whose weights exceed the limitation of a scanner could theoretically be scanned sitting up with a single headed gamma camera.
The likelihood of a serious allergic event is extremely unlikely. There is a theoretical infective risk with any test requiring parental administration which should be minimal with standard universal precautions protocol. There is also the theoretical risk of administration of the wrong labelled blood if the “in vivtro” or the “in vitro” method is used. This risk is minimised by standard protocols for the administration of blood products practised by all departments.
The alternatives are an echocardiogram, gated computed tomography or gated magnetic resonance imaging. The gated blood pool scan is much less operator dependent and has the potential advantage of better reproducibility. In an obese patient the effect of soft tissue attenuation is likely to be less of a problem than for an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram however can provide a lot more information with more accurate measurements of cardiac chamber sizes, and it allows the assessment of heart valves. Gated CT and gated MR studies are new techniques that are not yet widely available and their indications are still being refined.
Page last modified on 26/7/2017.
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