GI Bleed Study (Bowel Haemorrhage Study)

The G.I. Bleed Study (or Bowel Haemorrhage scan) is a type of nuclear medicine scan which uses a Gamma Camera and an injected radioactive tracer (radiopharmaceutical) to take images to detect bleeding in the small or large bowel.

  • Before your procedure

    What to bring

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards


    • Most patients undertaking a G.I Bleed Study will already be in hospital, in which case there is no specific preparation required.
    • If you are not a patient in hospital a referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.
    • This is a lengthy procedure and you will be required to remain in the department for most of the day.
    • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the day of the scan, please notify us, to receive special instructions.
  • During your procedure

    At Apex Radiology you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc, then change into an examination gown.

    After the technologist has explained the procedure to you, a blood sample will be taken from an arm vein. There will then be a 30 minute wait while your blood is “labelled” in the laboratory with the radioactive tracer. After your blood sample is prepared you will lie under the gamma camera while the technologist re-injects the sample into your arm vein.

    The gamma imaging begins immediately, and you may breathe normally, but must try not to move. The scan initially takes about one hour. After this, further pictures are taken, usually every hour until bleeding is detected. Each scan will take around 10 minutes. The entire G.I. procedure may take most of the day.

  • Risks and side effects

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations. Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Apex Radiology you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination. If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

    For further information regarding radiation safety please visit:

  • Who will perform and report my examination?

    At Apex Radiology sites your examination will be carried out by a Nuclear Medicine Technologist who has a degree in Medical Radiation Science and is accredited by the ANZSNM. Your images will be reviewed along with your relevant medical history, and any other imaging, and be reported by our Nuclear Medicine credentialed radiologist or Nuclear Medicine physician (a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of Nuclear Medicine studies).

  • After your procedure

    The radioactive tracer will decay over time and the body will eliminate any residue through the kidneys and bowel and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

  • How do I receive my results?

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Apex Radiology will arrange to have your results available shortly after the scans have been completed. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 72 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

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