Nuclear Medicine


Nuclear medicine encompasses applications of radioactive materials in diagnosis or treatment or in medical research, with the exception of the use of sealed radiation sources in radiotherapy. The radiation used in this medical field stems from the nucleus of the atom, in contrast with radiology, which makes use of X‐rays, which are generated outside the nucleus.

Keywords: nuclear medicine; brain; heart; thyroid; kidney; radiopharmaceutical; single photon emission tomography; SPET; positron emission tomography; PET

Figure 1.

Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) maps of a patient with Alzheimer dementia (top) and an age‐matched control (bottom). Major blood flow changes can be observed in the patient. A typical example of a single photon emission tomography (SPET) study.

Figure 2.

Whole‐body scan of a patient with carcinoma of the breast and multiple bony metastases.

Figure 3.

Transverse sections of the liver (a,b,c) and whole‐body scan (d,e,f) of a patient with carcinoma of the colon. A typical positron emission tomography (PET) study with labelled F‐18 glucose. The study shows a large cancerous lesion in the right lobe of the liver, but also several smaller lesions in the left lobe of the liver.

Figure 4.

Myocardial perfusion scans of a patient with typical ischaemic heart disease. The top row shows tomograms of blood flow of the patient's myocardium in the horizontal long axis (HLA), vertical long axis (VLA) and short axis (SA) of the heart, taken during peak stress and during rest. The change of the blood flow pattern between the two studies confirms extensive ischaemia, mainly in the anterior, apical and septal walls of the left ventricle.



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How to Cite close
Ell, Peter J(Apr 2001) Nuclear Medicine. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002341]