Nuclear medicine at KRMC
Nuclear medicine is an imaging modality that utilizes radioactive materials to show the function of organs or body systems. A small amount of a radiopharmaceutical can be injected into a vein, inhaled or even swallowed depending upon the area to be studied. Our cameras are able to image the radiation that is being emitted from the isotope within a patient’s body and show function at a molecular level rather than just anatomy. By administering the radiopharmaceuticals, we can diagnose and even treat many different types of disease. For example, nuclear medicine is commonly used to show the function of the gallbladder, kidneys, thyroid, and lungs as well as the blood flow to the heart muscle or the source of bone pain from injury, prosthetic loosening or cancer. Radioisotopes are also used to treat several diseases and cancers including hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, lymphoma or certain types of liver tumors.
Kalispell Regional Medical Center also maintains a mobile nuclear medicine unit that travels throughout northwest Montana to serve those populations that may not be able to conveniently reach the hospital. The mobile unit offers many different exams including cardiac imaging, bone scans, pre-operative lymphatic sentinel node tracking, and gastrointestinal testing.
Because we are imaging the function of the body systems, our tests often require very specific preparations and multiple appointments over the course of one or more days. It is important to tell your doctor if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, allergies and medications that you are taking. Please call the department if you have questions prior to an appointment at (406) 752-1770