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Nuclear medicine, indium white blood cell test question what are the steps involved in taking an indium white blood cell test? do i need to be worried about the radiation levels of the radioactive blood being introduced back into my blood stream?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Overbeck
Nuclear Medicine 27 years experience
A : A white blood cell test is one of the most labor intensive preparations that we do in nuclear medicine. We start with a blood draw from a person. The blood is then transported to the lab where it is centrifuged to separate it into plasma, red cells and white cells. The white cells are pipetted off and are labeled with indium-111. These white cells are then transported back to the facility. After positive re-identification of the patient is made (for infection control purposes), the blood is re-injected into the patient. We then wait 24 hours for these living cells to "home in" on an infection. Finally we image the patient to identify any infections (hot spots of white cells). We only do a nuclear medicine test in cases where there is a medical question to be answered. You doctor has decided that the small amount of radiation which you are going to receive is "worth" the diagnostic answer that he is going to receive with this study. A positive white blood cell test often results in the patient being on antibiotics for 6 months so i think you can see that a lot is riding on the results of this study.
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Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine 53 years experience
Not usually: Indium111 is tagged to white blood cells are extracted from blood. About 50 cc of blood from patient are incubated with wbcs separated from the blood. About four hours later the wbcs are reinjected into patient migrating to area of infection. Sterile technique is used to prevent introducing any bacteria. The radiation dose is acceptable if source of infection is needed for therapy of infection.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Luke Bolek
Nuclear Medicine 18 years experience
No you don't : You are correct that your blood is drawn from your body, the WBCs are then labeled with radioactive Indium 111, and then injected into your bloodstream. However there is no real risk to being exposed to excessive radiation. If you are planning on traveling through the airport in the next 30 days, then you should ask the doctor to give you a card stating that you were imaged with a nuclear scan .
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Mar 11, 2019


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