Nuclear medicine is a specialized service within the department of imaging at Johns Hopkins Bayview that uses radioactive material to access the fuction of organs or systems within the body. Unlike conventional x-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound that are used to produce images of the inside of the body, nuclear medicine is used to determine the function of organs or tissues in a safe, effective way. It helps diagnose and treat many diseases such as cancer, heart disease and infection.
Nuclear medicine uses small quantities of radioactive materials, called isotopes, that are targeted to specific organ systems or tissues within the body. These can be introduced into the body in different ways. Most commonly, the patient will receive an IV injection in the arm, allowing access to a particular area of interest within the body. Isotopes also may be administered orally or inhaled, depending on the type of procedure being performed. Isotopes are safe, effective and usually do not cause any adverse reactions.
Acting as radioactive tracers, the isotopes emit gamma rays that are detected by specially designed cameras. The cameras then create computered-generated images of the area or organ. By targeting the isotopes to a specific organ or area, blood flow and biodistribution of the tracer is visualized throughout the organ or area. The images also show how the body processes the tracers allowing organ function to be assessed.
These computer-generated images are analyzed and interpreted by a Johns Hopkins nuclear medicine physician who will report the results to your physician.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 410-550-2948.
Nuclear Medicine Faculty and Staff
John Petronis, M.D.
Lori Bender, BS, CNMT, RT(N)
Clinical Imaging Supervisor