New specialist chair for nuclear medicine

New specialist chair for nuclear medicine

Your generous support has bought a new specialist blood sampling chair for the nuclear medicine service at King’s, which is helping to improve safety and comfort for patients.

Thanks to donations, around 100 patients per week benefit from the new equipment which makes their experience of receiving injections much more pleasant.

Nuclear medicine is a safe and painless way of taking pictures of inside the body by using radioactive material. These images can be used to find problems in the very early stages of a disease, sometimes before they show up on other tests.

Ensuring safety and comfort

When a patient is having an injection it’s essential to ensure that they’re as physically comfortable as possible. When it comes to injections for nuclear medicine, this is even more important.

‘Because our injections are radioactive, we’re only allowed to expose people to a certain, very low amount of radiation at a time,’ says Lindsey Devlin, specialist nurse in nuclear medicine. ‘If we missed the vein with the radioactivity on first attempt, we can’t do it again because we’ve already put it in once and exposed them. We’d have to send them away, wait until that radiation has gone and then do it again.’

As a way to avoid this happening too often, the team saw a need for a new chair. The old model was old-fashioned and entirely static, with no way to adjust it to ensure comfort. Furthermore, if a patient needed to lie down during their procedure – faintness being a common side effect when it comes to injections – it was very impractical.

‘It seemed a bit silly that when patients felt faint we had to stand them up and walk them over to the bed that we kept in the room, which was likely to make them feel worse before they felt better,’ says Lindsey. ‘The new chair tilts back, so if it happens now then we can just recline the patient to help them recover.’

Making vast improvements

The chair’s adjustable arms are also a vast improvement to the old chair, ensuring added comfort for hundreds of patients who use it per month and making the procedure easier for staff.

‘If a patient’s uncomfortable they’re more likely to move when we’re trying to put the needle in,’ explains Lindsey. ‘So for staff it’s much better now, because even the slightest movement can put you off. But we’re not so worried by that now there’s that added comfort for the patient.’

Helping wide diagnosis

Nuclear medicine is used for diagnosis across all fields. At King’s it’s particularly used to carry out specialist scans in relation to liver-related conditions, as well as for bone, brain and kidney scans – to name just a few.

It uses small amounts of radioactive material as a ‘tracer’ to diagnose a condition, which is injected into the vein as preparation for a scan. The radiation it gives out is picked up by a gamma camera which converts the information into an image that can show how a part of the body is functioning.

‘We wouldn’t have been able to get the chair if it wasn’t for this extra support,’ says Lindsey. ‘It’s made a massive difference for the people who give the injections and for the patients who come through here. You feel like you’re in a safer environment now because we’ve got this.’

Your donations have helped buy new equipment like this chair to benefit patients and staff at King’s, and your ongoing support will ensure we can continue to go above and beyond in this way. Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.