Yesterday I went in for my CT scan and bone scan. First the CT scan and getting an IV. Finding a good vein in my left arm is getting to be a bit tricky so the nurse wrapped it with a hot towel, a hot pack and then some fabric to keep all that heat in. A few minutes later she took off the entire wrap. She got a vein first try … good job! She then poured me my one liter ‘contrast’ drink and sent me to the waiting room so I could slurp it up. A short time later I had my CT scan.
After my CT scan, I went to nuclear medicine for my bone scan. When I got there I was asked if I’d like to take part in a study where the hospital would inject Na18F as a tracer instead of 99mTc-MDP. I was not great at chemistry in high school so I’ll just give you the long and short of it … there is a global shortage of the one contrast agent and they are testing this other one in its place. I agreed to the study and filled out the consent form.
When the nurse came by with the injection needle, he walked in caring a small metal box. When he opened the box there was a syringe enclosed in a metal cylinder one inch in diameter. I asked … what’s with the fancy syringe. He said, “Oh that is tungsten metal and is used to shield the staff from the radiation within the syringe. Ugg … I just then felt like a lab rat.
On a side note, Na18F which is the new study tracer is actually made at the Cross Cancer Institute here in Edmonton.