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Nuclear medicine technologists carry out diagnostic imaging and some treatment procedures in hospitals or private medical clinics. They acquire images that help pinpoint the nature of a disease and how it is affecting the body. Their work also enables doctors to monitor a patient’s response to treatment. Some of the main uses of nuclear medicine include:

  • Evaluating coronary disease
  • Studying how the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs are functioning
  • Determining the location of tumours
  • Monitoring the progression of cancer and the results of cancer treatments
  • Diagnosing hormonal disorders

Nuclear medicine involves the use of radioactive drugs called tracers that concentrate in specific organs when introduced into the patient’s bloodstream. Given in small amounts, usually by injection, the tracers expose patients to a very low-level of radiation for only a short time.

As the tracer emits radiation, a special detector called a gamma camera collects data. A computer processes the data and produces images of the organ from different angles. Cross-sectional images can be obtained if required. The images generally appear on a computer monitor, or as a photograph or computer printout.

As part of their professional duty, nuclear medicine technologists:

  • EXPLAIN the procedure to patients.
  • ANSWER questions as fully as possible.
  • CONTRIBUTE to patient education.
  • PREPARE the tracer prescribed by the physician.
  • ENSURE proper radiation handling and protection techniques are followed.
  • ADMINISTER the tracer.
  • POSITION the patients.
  • PERFORM the required tests.
  • MONITOR patients during procedures.
  • COMFORT patients and provide emotional support.
  • CONDUCT computer analysis to produce diagnostic medical images.

This information was provided through permission from the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.

For more information Reference: http://www.camrt.ca/mrt-profession/