Tagged RBC and GI Bleed Scan

Are you or a loved one experiencing abdominal symptoms like pain, bloating, or signs of abdominal bleeding? A tagged RBC scan could be the first step toward accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. 

At Valley Radiology, we understand the importance of this procedure in uncovering underlying causes of abdominal distress and ensuring comprehensive care for our patient’s well-being.

Here, we delve into the world of tagged RBC scans, exploring their role in diagnostic imaging and their significance in identifying gastrointestinal concerns. 

Continue reading to learn more about GI bleed scans below. 

What is a GI Bleed Scan?

A GI bleed scan, also known as nuclear scintigraphy, is a diagnostic imaging procedure used to detect sources of gastrointestinal bleeding. It involves the administration of a radioactive tracer that allows visualization of the digestive tract to identify bleeding sites or abnormalities that may be causing gastrointestinal bleeding. 

This non-invasive scan helps doctors locate and assess the severity and potential cause of the bleed.

What Does a Tagged Red Blood Cell Scan Detect?

A tagged red blood cell scan, often used in nuclear medicine, is designed to detect sources of gastrointestinal bleeding. By introducing labeled red blood cells into the bloodstream, this scan helps identify and locate areas of active bleeding or abnormalities within the gastrointestinal tract.

A tagged RBC scan can help detect conditions such as:

  • Ulcers
  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Tumors
  • Polyps
  • Vascular abnormalities
  • Lesions that may cause bleeding in the digestive system

This non-invasive scan offers valuable insights into various potential causes of gastrointestinal bleeding, assisting healthcare professionals in making accurate diagnoses and planning appropriate treatments for patients.

What to Expect During a GI Bleeding Scan

During a GI bleeding scan, you'll receive an intravenous injection of a radioactive tracer. Then, you'll likely wait for a short period, allowing the tracer to circulate in your body. The imaging process, which may involve a gamma camera or similar equipment, captures images as the tracer moves through your digestive system. 

This non-invasive procedure typically lasts a few hours, depending on various factors. You may need to return additional images at a later time. 

Throughout the scan, you must lie still on a table while the images are taken. It's a painless procedure, and you can resume your regular activities after completion.

How Long Does an NM GI Bleed Scan Take?

The duration of a nuclear medicine GI bleed scan varies but typically lasts 1 to 2 hours. The scan duration may differ based on individual circumstances and the specific protocols used by the medical facility.

Have You Been Referred for a Gastrointestinal Bleeding Scan? Visit our North Carolina Radiology Team

At Valley Radiology, we specialize in interpreting and advanced imaging solutions for gastrointestinal bleeding concerns, including GI bleeding scans. 

A doctor's referral is required for all nuclear imaging tests and other imaging services except for mammograms.