​Overview of the Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program

The Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Imaging Institute specializes in creating detailed pictures of metabolic and physiological abnormalities at a molecular and cellular level. To do this, highly trained radiologists apply cutting-edge imaging methods like SPECT.CT and PET.CT.

State-of-the-art technology and a team of knowledgeable Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program radiologists make it possible to provide Patients First care supported by advanced imaging diagnostics.

The Imaging Institute is equipped with several state-of-the-art nuclear medicine scanners, including:

  • 2 SPECT scanners
  • 2 SPECT.CT scanners
  • 1 PET.CT scanner 
  • Cyclotron facility (supplies radiotracers for PET imaging)

These machines enable some of the most advanced imaging services in the region, such as SPECT.CT imaging for heart muscle blood flow and PET.CT for absolute blood flow in patients with coronary heart disease.

What We Treat

Molecular imaging is an invaluable aid for physicians because it provides information that cannot be obtained with other imaging technologies. It is a noninvasive, painless methodology that can allow patients to avoid procedures like biopsy or surgery. Molecular imaging and nuclear medicine help physicians to identify disease in its earliest stages – often before symptoms occur, or before the disease can be detected using other diagnostics – and to pinpoint the exact location of the problem.

At the Imaging Institute’s Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program, cutting-edge technology is used to diagnose and manage a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Strokes and/or narrowing of blood vessels
  • Cancer and tumors
  • Infection and inflammation
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, including screening for early diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, including pre-surgical evaluations
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lung disorders, including airflow obstructions and/or blood flow obstructions
  • Bone disorders, infections, and tumors
  • Thyroid and parathyroid disorders, such as nodules, hyperthyroidism, goiters, or cancer
  • Kidney obstruction and renal failure
  • Liver and gallbladder disorders

Diagnosis & Treatment with Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging

For any nuclear medicine or other molecular imaging study, a patient is first referred by a physician in another Institute for the appropriate diagnostic test, according to their condition.

Molecular imaging is an advanced imaging technology that goes beyond the capabilities of standard diagnostic imaging tests that create images of physical structures, like x-ray and ultrasound. Instead, molecular imaging uses biomarkers that interact chemically with their surroundings to show biochemical changes. Injected intravenously, these biomarkers are designed to alter the image being examined according to molecular changes, allowing the physician to see how a specific organ or part of the body is functioning.

Nuclear medicine is a subset of molecular imaging that uses very small quantities of radioactive dye, called a radiotracer, injected intravenously. The radiotracer is designed to either accumulate in a target organ or to attach to specific cells. Specialized scanning equipment detects the radiotracer and generates pictures that show how it is distributed in the body. By examining this distribution pattern, physicians can see how well organs and tissues are functioning and diagnose problems.

After each study, Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program caregivers compile an integrated report for the referring physician, offering a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s overall condition.

Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program Caregivers

The Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging Program at the Imaging Institute is staffed by Western-board certified physicians who possess an exceptional depth of expertise in the field. Imaging procedures are performed and interpreted by a team of cross-trained specialists in nuclear medicine, nuclear cardiology, and radiology. Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Radiologists
  • Specialized technologists trained in molecular imaging
  • Certified nurses trained to work with patients undergoing molecular imaging procedures

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