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computed tomography (CT)

diagnostic x-ray procedure whereby a cross-sectional image of a specific body segment is produced

contrast studies

radiopaque materials (contrast media) are injected to obtain contrast with surrounding tissue when shown on the x-ray film

gamma camera

machine to detect gamma rays emitted from radiopharmaceuticals during scanning for diagnostic purposes

gamma rays

high-energy rays emitted by radioactive substances in tracer studies


time required for a radioactive substance to lose half its radioactivity by disintegration

interventional radiology

therapeutic or diagnostic procedures performed by a radiologist

in vitro

process, test, or procedure is performed, measured, or observed outside a living organism, often in a test tube

in vivo

process, test, or procedure is performed, measured, or observed within a living organism


transformation of electrically neutral substances into electrically charged particles

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

magnetic field and radio waves produce sagittal, coronal, and axial images of the body

nuclear medicine

medical specialty that studies the uses of radioactive substances (radionuclides) in diagnosis of disease

positron emission tomography (PET)

positron-emitting radioactive substances given intravenously create a cross-sectional image of cellular metabolism based on local concentration of the radioactive substance


test combines radioactive chemicals and antibodies to detect minute quantities of substances in a patient's blood


radioactive form of an element substance; radionuclide

radiolabeled compound

radiopharmaceutical; used in nuclear medicine studies


medical specialty concerned with the study of x-rays and their use in the diagnosis of disease; includes other forms of energy, such as ultrasound and magnetic waves


permitting the passage of x-rays. Radiolucent structures appear black on x-ray film


radioactive form of an element that gives off energy in the form of radiation; radioisotope


obstructing the passage of x-rays. Radiopaque structures appear white on the x-ray film


radioactive drug (radionuclide plus chemical) that is administered safely for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes; a radiotracer


image of an area, organ or tissue of the body obtained from ultrasound, radioactive tracer studies, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging

single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)

radioactive tracer is injected intravenously and a computer reconstructs a 3D image based on a composite of many views


attaching a radionuclide to a chemical and following its path in the body

tracer studies

radionuclides are used as tags, or labels, attached to chemicals and followed as they travel through the body


handheld device that sends and receives ultrasound signals

ultrasonography (US, U/S)

diagnostic technique that projects and retrieves high-frequency sound waves as they echo off parts of the body


rate of absorption of a radionuclide into an organ or tissue

ventilation-perfusion studies

radiopharmaceutical is inhaled (ventilation) and injected intravenously (perfusion) followed by imaging its passage through the respiratory tract


uses low-dose x-rays to visualize breast tissue

Barium Sulfate

a radiopaque medium that is mixed in water and used for examination of the upper and lower GI tract

upper GI series (UGI)

procedure that involves oral ingestion of barium sulfate so that the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum can be visualized

small bowel follow-through (SBFT)

procedure used to trace the passage of barium in a sequential manner as it passes through the small intestine

barium enema (BE) study

lower GI series that opacifies the lumen of the large intestine using an enema containing barium sulfate

double-contrast study

uses both a radiopaque and a radiolucent contrast medium

Iodine Compounds

radiopaque fluids containing up to 50% iodine


X-ray image (angiogram) of blood vessels and heart chambers is obtained after contrast is injected through a catheter into the appropriate blood vessel or heart chamber

coronary angiography

X-ray image (angiogram) which determines the degree of obstruction of the arteries that supply blood to the heart


X-ray imaging after injection of contrast into bile ducts

digital subtraction angiography (DSA)

X-ray image of contrast-injected blood vessels is produced by taking two X-ray pictures and using a computer to subtract obscuring shadows from the second image


X-ray record of the endometrial cavity and fallopian tubes is obtained after injection of contrast material through the vagina and into the endocervical canal


X-ray imaging of the spinal cord after injection of contrast agent into the subarachnoid space surrounding the spinal cord


X-ray imaging of the renal pelvis and urinary tract

digital imaging techniques

methods used to enhance conventional and fluoroscopic x-ray images


use of x-rays and a fluorescent screen to produce real-time video images

radiofrequency ablation

removal of tumors and tissues using interventional radiologic assistance


the record produced by ultrasound


use of ultrasound techniques to detect heart valve and blood vessel disorders; gastroenterologists use it to locate abdominal masses outside the digestive organs

endoscopic ultrasonography

technique in which a small ultrasound transducer is installed on the tip of an endoscope and inserted into the body; used to obtain detailed images of the digestive & respiratory systems

gadolinium (Gd)

most commonly used contrast agent in performing MRIs

posteroanterior (PA) view

most commonly requested chest x-ray view; rays travel from a posteriorly placed source to an anteriorly placed detector

anteroposterior (AP) view

x-rays travel from an anteriorly placed source to a posteriorly placed detector

left lateral view

x-rays travel from a source located to the right of the patient to a detector placed to the left of the patient

right lateral view

x-rays travel from a source located to the left of the patient to a detector placed to the right of the patient

oblique view

x-rays travel in a slanting direction at an angle from the perpendicular plane; oblique views show regions or structures ordinarily hidden and superimposed in routine PA / AP views


movement away from the midline of the body


movement toward the midline of the body


turning outward


lengthening or straightening a flexed limb


bending a part of the body


turning inward

lateral decubitus

lying down on the side (with the x-ray beam horizontally positioned)


lying on the belly


lying down (may be prone or supine)


lying on the back


the spontaneous emission of energy in the form of particles or rays coming from the interior of a substance

perfusion studies

passage of the radioactive compound through the capillaries of the lungs

ventilation studies

inhalation of a gas or aerosol which fills the alveoli of the lungs

bone scan

Technetium (99mTc) is used to label phosphate substances and then is injected intravenously. The phosphate compound is taken up by bone, and the skeleton is imaged in 2 to 3 hours


type of nuclear medicine imaging that provides pictures (scintigrams) of the lymphatic system

sentinel lymph node

the first lymph node to receive lymph drainage from a tumor

technetium Tc-99m sestamibi (Cardiolite)

this radiopharmaceutical is injected intravenously and traced to heart muscle


an exercise tolerance test (ETT) is used with a technetium Tc-99m sestamibi (Cardiolite) scan

multiple gated acquisition (MUGA) scan

99mTc is injected intravenously to study the motion of the heart wall muscle and the ventricle's ability to eject blood (ejection fraction)

thallium (Tl) scan

Thallium-201 (201Tl) is injected intravenously to evaluate myocardial perfusion

thyroid scan

an iodine radionuclide, usu. iodine-123 (123I), is administered orally, and the scan reveals the size, shape, and position of the thyroid gland

radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU) study

performed to assess the function of the thyroid gland; patient is given radioactive iodine (131I) and a probe is placed over the thyroid gland

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