Nuclear scans and tests

Our nuclear medicine departments have a range of equipment which help us to diagnose heart and lung conditions more quickly. As well as high-techNuclear medicine image machines, we spread our expertise, care and attention across two sites: Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals.

The nuclear scan

A nuclear scan is a way of taking images of your body. Before we can take these images, we need to give you an injection, called a tracer. Tracers contain a small amount of radioactivity in them which allows us to highlight the parts of the body we need to see in more detail. 

Risks

Most medical procedures and tests have some level of risk, but it's important to know that we wouldn't recommend a procedure/test if we the benefits didn't outweigh any potential risks to your health. 

Particular risk

Female patients

If you are pregnant, or think you might be, please tell us before your scan. Even small amounts of radiation can harm unborn babies. 

If you are breastfeeding, you can still have the scan but please contact us for advice before you come in. 

Find out more about our other heart and lung assessments.

Where to go for your scan

Types of scans and tests

At Harefield Hospital, we use state-of-the-art equipment to carry out a number of tests and scans which look at the lungs, heart and other parts of the body to see if they are functioning properly. These include: 

    Heart

    Lung

    Other areas

    The results

    Your scan results will be interpreted by an experienced nuclear medicine physician and will be sent to your referring specialist. You can consult your specialist doctor to plan further treatment. 

    Nuclear medicine department

    A range of healthcare professionals look after you when you come to Harefield Hospital for a scan or test. These include:

    Getting to Harefield

    Find out how to get to us at Harefield. Once there, you'll find the nuclear medicine department in the ANZAC Centre. When you arrive, it is 30 metres straight ahead of you. Here, you can report to a reception window in the nuclear medicine waiting area, but if you do need any help, just ask at main reception. 

    Types of scans and tests

    At Royal Brompton, we use state-of-the-art equipment to carry out a number of tests and scans which look at the lungs, heart and other parts of the body to see if they are functioning properly. These include: 

    Heart

    Lung

    Other areas

    You may be invited for any type of test but they can all be done on an outpatient basis, so you don't need to stay overnight. The length of the test can vary between 1-4 hours, depending on the test. 

    The results

    Your scan results will be interpreted by an experienced nuclear medicine physician and will be sent to your referring specialist. You can consult your specialist doctor to plan further treatment. 

    Nuclear medicine department

    A range of healthcare professionals look after you when you come to Royal Brompton Hospital for a scan or test. These include:

    • Dr Kshama Wechalekar, consultant nuclear physician, head of department
    • Professor Richard Underwood, professor of cardiac imaging 
    • Tiago Sousa, superintendent technologist
    • Samantha Cliffe, lead clinical nurse specialist
    • Lucy Hossen, lead physicist
    • Bill Hartigan, office manager 

    Getting to Royal Brompton

    Find out how to get to us at Royal Brompton. Once there, you'll find the nuclear medicine department in the Chelsea wing of the hospital. Please come in through the main Sydney Street entrance. 

    Chelsea wing is connected to the main Sydney Street building by a bridge. It's a five-minute walk from reception to the department and you will need to take the lift to level three and follow the signs. If you have any problems, just ask someone, or speak to someone at main reception. they can arrange for a porter to help you to the department if you need it. 

    The nuclear medicine department itself cannot arrange transport. If you think you need transport for medical reasons, speak to your GP who can arrange it with the Royal Brompton transport department on 0207 351 8012. 

    Nuclear medicine research

    We perform more than 5,000 studies in the fields of nuclear cardiology and myocardial perfusion imaging, and more. Find out more about our research

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