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UCLA Santa Monica Nuclear Imaging

Nuclear Cardiac Clinic
2020 Santa Monica Blvd., 2nd Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Patient Phone: 310-582-6260
Physicans Phone: 310-582-6261
Fax: 310-582-6222
Hours: M-F, 8am-5pm

UCLA Santa Monica PET/CT

1245 16th St. Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Appointments: 310-319-4970
Fax: 310-319-4980
Hours: M-F, 7am-4pm

UCLA Santa Monica Hospital

Nuclear Medicine Services
Merle Norman Pavilion
1250 16th St. Suite 1
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Outpatient Scheduling: 310-319-2242
Technical Questions: 310-319-2743
Hours: 7:30am-5pm

UCLA Westwood Nuclear Medicine and PET/CT

Peter Morton Medical Building
200 Medical Plaza, Suite B114
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: 310-794-1005
Fax: 310-267-0227
Hours: 7:30am-5pm

UCLA Thousand Oaks Nuclear Imaging

100 Moody Court, Suite 110
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Appointments: 805-418-3500
Fax: 805-418-3505
Hours: M-F, 8am-5pm


Will I be allergic to the radioactive dose? If so, who should I call if I develop a reaction?

Allergy to radioactivity does not exist. In very rare cases there can be an allergic reaction to the chemical to which the radioactive isotope is attached to. If you should have an allergic reaction the Nuclear Medicine Physician will treat you. Be sure to notify the staff of any allergies or allergic reactions you have had in the past.

How long will the radioactivity stay in my system?

With most of the tracers used, the radioactivity will be almost completely gone by the following day.

Is it dangerous to be around others, especially around children or pregnant women?

Except for patients being treated with radioactive isotopes (most commonly thyroid cancer) there is no risk in exposing others to dangerous amounts of radioactivity.

What precautions should I take after receiving a radioactive dose?

You do not need to take any precautions.

What does the radioactive dose do?

The radioactive dose is attached to a molecule which goes to the organ system that needs to be imaged. A special camera (gamma camera) records the radioactivity coming out of the body and from the organ. A computer then creates an image which will be read by the Nuclear Medicine Physician.

Why do I have to wait so long between injection and scan?

The amount of time needed to complete a nuclear medicine procedure depends on the type of test. Nuclear medicine exams are performed in three steps, administering the pharmaceutical compound, taking the pictures and analyzing the results. The amount of time needed for the compound to accumulate in the body part to be scanned can vary from a few hours to days.

What are the risks when having a Nuclear Medicine stress test?

Cardiac stress testing (either with a treadmill or by using a medication called Adenosine or Dobutamine) has been proven to be effective and safe in hundreds of thousands of tests. The risks associated with cardiac stress testing are minimal. Theoretically patients could experience a heart attack or even death. This however is a very rare complication. During and after the test you will be continuously monitored by a physician who will immediately stop the stress test should there be any indication of complications.

How is the radioactive dose administered?

The test that has been ordered by your physician will determine how the radioactive dose will be administered. Usually the dose is injected into an arm vein. For some tests the dose needs to be given by mouth.

Is this like contrast?

The tracers we inject are different from iodine and contrast used with CAT scanning. Therefore injection of a radioactive tracer will not cause any problems for a patient with an allergy to iodine or contrast.

For Thyroid patients: If I’m allergic to iodine, will I react to the I-131 or I-123?

Since the dose is given as a pill to be taken by mouth (and not injected into a vein) and since the actual amount of iodine given is very small the occurrence of an allergic reaction is highly unlikely.

Is there a limit as to the amount of radiation I should receive in a given period of time?

The amount of radiation received from nuclear medicine procedures is usually very low. For example it usually falls far below what the government sets as a yearly limit for people working with radioactivity (which is 5000mrem/year).

When can I or my physician expect to receive the results of my exam?

Images are usually read the same day and the results should be available to your physician within 36 hours.

Do I have to wear a gown?

Depending on what test you have, you might be asked to wear a gown.

Can I wear jewelry?

Please remove all jewelry before the test. Jewelry can potentially cause artifacts on the images.

Can I have the exam if I have a pacemaker or some other medical device/implant?

A pacemaker or other implanted medical devices do not pose a problem. However please let the staff know if you have any implanted medical devices or prosthesis.

Is the radioactivity I’m receiving dangerous?

The dose of radioactivity you will receive is very small (for most Nuclear Medicine tests usually in the range of the dose you receive from a chest X-ray) and will not cause any problems.

Are there any side effects to the radioactive dose?

Radioactivity will not cause any side effects.


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