Harrison’s cardiac diagnostic services include nuclear imaging that creates detailed, three-dimensional pictures of your heart and blood flow with Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). The tests are noninvasive and painless, apart from the slight discomfort of intravenous injections of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers). Every day of the week, we perform several procedures for cardiac diagnosis and evaluation.
How nuclear imaging works
With ordinary X-rays, an image is made by passing high-energy radiation through your body from an outside source. In contrast, nuclear-medicine imaging uses radioactive material that accumulates in the organ or area of your body being examined. It gives off a small amount of energy in the form of gamma rays. A gamma camera, or probe, detects the energy and, with the help of a computer, creates detailed pictures of the structure and function of organs and tissues in your body. A computer creates the images from the data obtained by the camera or scanner.
Your cardiac team’s diagnosis and evaluation
Images show how the heart functions when working at full capacity—and at rest. By comparing the images, one of our five experienced, board-certified nuclear cardiologists interprets your scans to understand what treatment or follow-up you need for:
What to expect during the procedure
After the procedure
If you receive blood-flow medication, you may experience a very brief period of anxiety, dizziness, nausea, shakiness, or shortness of breath. Mild chest discomfort also may occur. Any symptoms that do develop typically resolve as soon as the infusion is complete. In rare instances, if the side effects are severe or make you too uncomfortable, other drugs can be given to stop the effects.
The small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time and may pass painlessly through your urine or stool during the first few hours or days following the test.
Unless otherwise advised, you can go back to your normal activities. Armed with this full picture, your cardiac team has the information to help you move forward—to a healthier, longer life.
“Educating my patients about their heart disease so they can become a partner in future decisions is the cornerstone of my practice – it makes all the difference.”- Arthur Lee, MD