Authors: Ms Maria Triantafillou*
                            Dr Dee Nandurkar *

What are the prerequisites for having an octreotide scan done?

  • No fasting is required prior to procedure.
  • A relevant history of the type of suspected or known primary tumour, its hormonal activity, the results of other imaging studies (CT, MRI), laboratory results (tumour markers), history of recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and octreotide therapy should be available on the referral. A history of cholecystectomy should also be noted.
  • For patients suspected of having insulinoma, an intravenous infusion of glucose should be available because of potential for inducing severe hypoglycaemia.
  • Indium -111 octreotide should not be injected into existing I.V. lines used to administer other fluids or together with solutions for total parenteral nutrition.
  • Octreotide therapy should be ceased 72 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Patient should be well hydrated before and up to one day after the procedure. This ensures a reduced radiation dose to patient.
  • The use of laxatives should be considered, especially when the abdomen is the area of interest. A mild laxative can be taken the evening prior to the injection and in the evening following the injection. The need for bowel preparation should be assessed on an individual basis and laxatives should not be used in patients with active diarrhoea.

What are the absolute contraindications for an octreotide scan?

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.

What are the relative contraindications for an octreotide scan?

The doctor should contact the hospital or radiology practice and check bed limits if their patient is morbidly obese.

What are the adverse effects of an octreotide scan?

There are no adverse affects from an octreotide scan. The amount of radiation exposure is quite safe and should not result in any short or long term hazardous effects.

Are there alternative imaging tests, interventions or surgical procedures to an octreotide scan?

PET scan can often prove complementary. Benign slow growing tumours tend to be octreotide positive, whilst aggressive tumours tend to be PET positive. CT and MR imaging are also often complementary, but as these tumours can be slow growing they can escape detection with conventional imaging.

*The author has no conflict of interest with this topic.

Page last modified on 26/7/2017.

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