For most diagnostic studies in nuclear medicine the radioactive tracer is administered to a patient by intravenous injection however a radioactive tracer may also be administered by inhalation by oral ingestion or by direct injection into an organ. Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in relatively low radiation exposure to the patient acceptable for diagnostic exams thus the radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits. Nuclear medicine studies have been performed on babies and children of all ages for more than 40 years without any known adverse effects the functional nature of these exams and the low doses of radiation used make it a safe and effective diagnostic tool in children. In this chapter we describe the role of nuclear medicine imaging in patient care and review how these imaging approaches contribute to the diagnosis of disease to the assessment of the disease related risk to patients and to individualizing treatment strategies for improving patient outcomes and survival
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