IAC Patient Information - Nuclear/PET

The IAC provides the following links and information for a patient looking to have a nuclear cardiology, nuclear medicine or PET test done.

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that is used to diagnose and treat diseases in a safe and painless way. Nuclear medicine procedures permit the determination of medical information that may otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive and invasive diagnostic tests. The procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progression of disease — long before some medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests. This early detection allows a disease to be treated sooner in its course when a more successful prognosis may be possible.

Is “Nuclear” Medicine Safe?

This is a question many in the nuclear medicine community get often.  Yes, physicians and technologist trained in nuclear medicine carefully select appropriate medications (radiopharmaceuticals) and minimal radiation dose exposure to acquire maximum diagnostic or therapeutic accuracy.  The typical amount of exposure to radiation is comparable to many X-ray and computed tomography (CT) procedures.

A great advantage of nuclear medicine is that early detection of life-threatening heart disorders and other diseases is possible through the use of nuclear medicine procedures performed within hospitals, outpatient centers and physicians’ offices. Nuclear medicine’s reliability in diagnosing vast types of diseases and heart conditions is encouraging as we strive for ways to reduce lives lost in the United States each year. The most critical decision patients must consider is there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on nuclear medicine. These factors include the skill of the nuclear medicine technologist performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures. In fact, poorly performed and interpreted nuclear medicine procedures often lead to inconvenient, redundant studies, misdiagnosis and even unnecessary tests or surgery.

Types of Nuclear Medicine Exams

Use the links below to learn more about the different types of vascular exams.

Excerpts of this information are taken, with permission, from the following sources (each sponsoring organizations of the IAC Nuclear/PET):


Locate An IAC-Accredited Facility

IAC offers an online tool to assist patients in locating an IAC-accredited facility. When scheduling a test, patients should research the accreditation status of the facility. To find an IAC Nuclear/PET accredited facility, visit the IAC Accredited Facility Locator and select Nuclear/PET under Modalities.

Resources for Patients

SNMMI | Nuclear Medicine/Molecular Imaging Overview
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging offers resources and videos for patients on nuclear medicine. Learn more at www.snmmi.org/Patients.