The practice of diagnostic nuclear medicine involves the use of ionizing radiation, and thus the potential risk associated with such exposure must be weighed against the benefits to the patient. This requires that the right test with the right dose be administered to the right patient at the right time. Therefore the procedure should be performed only if it is deemed most appropriate for the clinical question being asked. If appropriate, the procedure should be performed in the most optimum manner that keeps the radiation dose to the patient as low as possible while providing the patient's clinician with information that is needed to devise a plan of medical management. If this approach is followed, the benefits to the patient will far outweigh the small potential risks associate with the procedure. This article discusses these issues, particularly in the context of cardiovascular nuclear medicine and hybrid imaging including PET/CT and SPECT/CT.
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