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Your doctor has requested a GI Bleed study. This booklet will answer some of the questions you may have. 

What is a GI Bleed study? 

This is a simple and painless way of taking pictures of your abdomen, using a radioactive tracer to detect a bleeding site in your bowel or stomach. 

What is involved? 

When you arrive in the department, a technologist will explain the entire procedure to you and then give you the opportunity to ask any questions. The technologist will then take a small sample of your blood. This process will take about 15 min. The technologist will label your blood with a small amount of radioactivity. This labeling process will take approximately one hour to perform. During this time, you will be waiting in the waiting area.  

Once the labelled blood is ready, you will be brought into the imaging room. The technologist will ask you to lie down on an imaging table and place you under a special detector, called a gamma camera. The technologist will then re-inject your labelled blood into a vein in your arm. There are no known side effects from this injection. The technologist will then take a series of images of your abdomen. The imaging time takes about 1 hour or longer, if additional images are required depending on the image findings. In this case, imaging can last up to several hours. 

Do I need to prepare for the scan? 

  • Bring your Health card. 
  • No special preparation is required. Although fasting is not required for this study, it may be necessary for subsequent surgical procedures.  
  • We would like you to dress in clothing that does not have any metal. Please refrain from wearing any jewelry. Please leave all valuables at home. 
  • Please notify our booking office at the time of scheduling your appointment if you have any concerns regarding claustrophobia, lying still, require a mechanical lift for transfer to the imaging bed, have a language barrier or any other special needs, so that appropriate arrangements can be made ahead to provide you with the best possible care. 

Will it hurt? 

Only the pinprick of the injection needle may hurt a bit. You may have had a blood test in the past. This is much the same. 

Is the radiation dangerous? 

The injection contains a small amount of radioactive tracer which emits gamma rays (these are similar to X-rays). The radiation dose is very low and will disappear by itself after two days. The results of your scan will give your doctor useful information about your condition and will help them plan your treatment. The benefits of having the scan far outweigh any potential risk from the small radiation dose.  

Do I need to do anything after the scan? 

No special precautions are needed after the scan. If you are travelling across any borders in the seven days after your scan, please ask us for further advice. Border crossings and airports have very sensitive radiation detectors which may pick up tiny amounts of radioactivity remaining after your scan. We will give you a letter that you can show to customs officials at border crossings or airports. 

Is there anything I should tell the staff before the injection? 

Please tell us if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

What about breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding must be interruption of 4 hours after the exam, during which time one milk meal should be pumped and discarded. Prepare for your exam accordingly. 

How will I get the results of my scan? 

A specially trained doctor will examine the pictures. This is normally done soon after the end of the scan. A report is then sent to the doctor who asked us to do the scan. Your doctor will normally receive the report within one week. You will also have access to the report on MyChart as soon as it is released. 

If you have questions about the scan results or report, please contact your doctor directly. They are best able to interpret the report for you. 

Will this test cost me money? 

No. This test is paid for by the healthcare system. The test costs several hundred dollars, so please notify the department at 613-761-4831 if you cannot make your appointment. 

What should I do if I cannot make my appointment? 

If you cannot make you appointment, it is important that you notify the department at 613-761-4831 as soon as possible. Failure to make your appointment results in wasting of expensive materials that are ordered especially for your appointment and also reduces availability to other patients. Missed appointments may also result in delays of your treatments. 

Directions and Parking 

Civic Campus  1053 Carling Avenue – 1st Floor Tel.: 613-761-4831, option 8 Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Directions: From within the Civic Campus, take the “C” elevators to the 1st Floor and follow the signs to Nuclear Medicine. Patients may also ask for directions at the patient information desk. General Campus  501 Smyth Road – Main level Tel.: 613-761-4831, option 8 Hours: Mon. – Fri., 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Directions: From the main entrance, follow the signs on the main level (located at the public elevators). Patients may also ask for directions at the patient Information desk. 
Park in either parking lot off Carling Avenue (P7) or in the multistory parking garage (P1).  Park in the parking garage which is located beside the main entrance just off Smyth Road.  

Parking instructions 

  • All parking lots are automated  
  • Take the parking ticket with you inside.  
  • When you have completed your appointment, you can pay by cash or credit card at one of our pay stations, or you can pay by credit card with express exit at the parking lot exit gates (the grace period after payment to leave facility is 20 minutes). 
  • Payment methods: 
    • Pay stations: Cash or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express). 
  • Maximum parking fee is $13.00 

Visit The Ottawa Hospital’s website for additional directions and parking instructions and maps.

Last updated on: April 14th, 2022