Department of Radiology: Nuclear Cardiology FAQ
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Q. What is Nuclear Cardiology?
A. Nuclear Cardiology, or a heart scan, is a diagnostic test designed to detect and evaluate
heart disease. The test involves the injection of very small amounts of radioactive material,
followed by a fast, painless scan of the heart and its surrounding blood vessels by a
specialized camera, which allows doctors to identify portions of the heart and vessels with
reduced blood flow.
To perform a heart scan, the patient is given a harmless amount of radioactive material,
which is absorbed by body tissues or organs in different concentrations. An instrument called
a gamma camera is then used to detect and map the radiation throughout the heart and
surrounding blood vessels to produce images, which can then be used to assess the health
of the organ being studied.
Q. Why have a Nuclear Cardiology exam?
A. A heart scan is one of the fastest and most accurate ways to assess heart health and
function. It is able to detect the effects of plaque build-up in the arteries, which can put
patients at risk for a heart attack.
Q. Why come to the Medical Center for a Nuclear Cardiology exam?
A. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center offers state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities
complemented by a highly trained and specialized staff. It is one of the few centers in
northern New Jersey to have three of the latest dual-headed gamma cameras, which in
some cases can cut scanning time in half.
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center also utilizes a highly sophisticated technology in
Nuclear Cardiology called Attenuation Correction. This system compensates for different
body shapes and sizes to allow for more accurate results. Our skilled professionals possess
the expertise needed for accurate diagnosis and the compassion to make patients feel at
ease. A registered nuclear medicine technologist, a registered nurse, and a cardiologist will
perform your exam.
Our Department of Nuclear Medicine is accredited by The Intersocietal Commission for
the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL).
Q. What can I expect during the procedure?
A. Patients are injected with a harmless amount of radioactive material. They are then asked to lie flat on a table while one or two 20 to 30-minute scans are taken of their heart. An
instrument called a gamma camera is used to detect and map the distribution of the radiation
throughout the heart and surrounding blood vessels to produce images that enable
physicians to assess the health of the heart.
Q. How do I prepare for a Nuclear Cardiology exam?
A. Some people, such as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should not receive a
nuclear scan. Patients should discuss any health issues that may rule out the use of nuclear
scans with their physicians.
Your physician will provide detailed instructions on preparing for the procedure. Patients may
be asked to avoid food, water, or medication for a period of time before the test.
Q. How to schedule an appointment?
A. Stress Tests can only scheduled by the Patient’s cardiologist by calling Admitting at 201-894-
3217. All other Nuclear Cardiology procedures are scheduled by calling 201-894-3367.
Q. What if I still have questions about Nuclear Cardiology?
A. For more information, call the Department of Radiology at 201-894-3400.