Nuclear Medicine

Gold seal - ACR accreditation in nuclear medicineHartford Hospital’s Department of Radiology has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in nuclear medicine as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Learn more.

The Program  |  Exam Options  |   Services

The Program

The Department of Nuclear Medicine is a full-service nuclear medicine department which performs both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on all age ranges.

Nuclear medicine provides physicians with information about medical problems based on how parts of the body function, whereas x-ray scans reveal a body's appearance or structure.

Common nuclear medicine applications include: diagnosis and treatment of thyroid conditions; bone scans for detection of cancer, infection or subtle bone injuries; lung scans for blood flow to the lungs and air exchange; liver, gall bladder and renal scans.

All staff physicians are either board certified in nuclear medicine or are radiologists with special competency certification in nuclear medicine. All technologists performing the clinical exams are certified nuclear medicine technologists.

General Preparations

All nuclear medicine exams involve intravenous injection, inhalation and/or swallowing of specially formulated compounds (tracers) with imaging at timed intervals. Tracers are attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues in the body, which then are detectable by special types of cameras. Reactions to these tracers are rare. The total amount of radiation a patient receives from a nuclear medicine examination is comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray.

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Exam Options

Click each to learn more:

Biliary scan with/ without CCK or Boost

Pre-Procedure Prep: Do not eat or drink for 5 hours before your exam. Do not take any pain medication 6 hours prior to exam. All other medication is permitted, but with a sip of water only.

Exam Instructions: The total time for the scan should be approximately 2.5 to 3 hours. An intravenous line will be place in your vein. Then a radioactive injection will be given at the start of the test. You will lie flat on a padded bed, underneath a rectangular camera for the entire length of the test. A medication called CCK will be given at the appropriate time and will make the gallbladder contract. Patients must be able to hold still for the entire exam. If CCK is unavailable, a Boost/Ensure plus will be given instead.

Bone Scan

Pre-Procedure Prep: Patient can eat and drink before exam. You can take any medications that you need.

Exam Instructions: Patients are injected with a radioactive isotope in a vein. They will return 2 to 3 hours later for the scan. The scan takes anywhere from 45minutes to 90 minutes. Patient must lie flat on a padded table. A large rectangular camera will be placed above and below patient. Patient must be able to hold still for length of exam.

Lung Ventilation and Perfusion (VQ SCAN)

Pre-Procedure Prep: Patients can eat and drink before exam and take all medications that are needed. The nuclear radiologist requires a chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest within 48 hours of a VQ scan, in order to appropriately read the VQ scan.

Exam Instructions: Patients will lie flat on a table. A mask will be placed over the nose and mouth. The patient will be instructed to breath in a radioactive gas mixed with oxygen. The mask will be on the patient’s face for about 5 minutes. Once the ventilation images are complete, the patient will then be injected with a radioactive material that gets distributed into the lungs. Six images will be taken, and each image is about 5 minutes. The patient must hold still for the image. There will be a large rectangular camera above and below the patient. The total scan takes about 30 minutes.


Pre-Procedure Prep: Patients will receive something called Lugol’s solution or SSKI beginning 48 hours prior to the MIBG injection and continuing for five days (unless the patient is allergic to iodine). Patents should put the SSKI in water (not milk). The solution will have an odd taste. However, patients can eat and drink before their injection and procedure, unless otherwise instructed.

Exam Instructions: Patients will receive a radioactive injection on day one. The patient will return to the nuclear medicine department the next morning for images. Patient must lie flat and still for exam for the entire exam. One camera will be above the patient and one will below. The scan will take approximately 1.5 hours. Anesthesia is required for children under 7 years old for.


Pre-Procedure Prep: Patients can eat and drink for the exam. Long-acting Octreotide therapy medication needs to be stopped for one month prior to scan. Short-acting or Sandostatin injectables should be discontinued 24 hours prior to the scan.

Exam Instructions: Patients will be injected with a radioactive isotope in the morning. They will return 4 hours later for imaging, which will take about 1 hour. Patient must lie flat and still for the entire length of exam. The patient will then return in 24 hours for more images that take about 1.5 hours. The technologist will then give the patient a medication called Ducolax that helps clear out the bowels. Ducolax should be taken with dinner. Then the patient returns the next day (48hrs post injection) for more images that take about 1 hour.

Renal with Lasix Scan

Pre-Procedure Prep: Patients can eat and drink for this exam and take any medication needed.

Exam instructions: The patient will need to remove all clothing waist-down. A technologist or nurse will put an IV catheter into the patient’s vein. If required by the patient’s physician, a urinary catheter will be placed by a nurse. Once all of these things are completed, the test can begin. The patient must lie flat and still for the entire exam. A camera will be above and underneath the patient throughout the study. The patient will receive Saline to hydrate them and then after about 30 minutes, the patient will receive Lasix to flush out the kidneys. Additional images will be taken for 40 minutes. The total imaging time is 1 hour and 10 minutes.

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  • Bone Densitometry

    Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to measure bone loss.

  • Coronary Calcium Score

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  • CT Scans

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  • CT Virtual Colonoscopy

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  • General Diagnostic Radiology

    General Diagnostic Radiology includes evaluation of the chest, spine, skull, extremities, hips, pelvis and abdomen. General diagnostic radiology is often used to evaluate suspected fracture or other indications of injury or abnormality.

  • Interventional Radiology

    The Department of Interventional Radiology and Neuroimaging’s staff physicians have all received specialized training and are all certified by the American Board of Radiology.

  • Mammography

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  • MRI

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology is unrivaled in its ability to produce high resolution images of soft tissue and structural anatomy.

  • Nuclear Medicine

    Nuclear medicine is a safe and painless imaging technology that uses small amounts of specially-formulated radioactive materials (tracers) to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases.

  • PET Scan

    PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.

  • Ultrasound

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