COVID-19 INFORMATION Learn More

Red Blood Cell Tag for GI Bleed

A red blood cell tag is a nuclear medicine test where your red blood cells will be marked with a radioactive substance that the camera can see.

When the tagged cells are injected back into your blood stream, they get carried away. If there is a spot of active bleeding inside of you, the cells will leak out and collect at the point of leakage. This test is done to determine the source of intestinal bleeding.

Before the Procedure

  • Before the test, you should tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • No special preparations are necessary for this test.

During the Procedure

  • A sample of blood will be taken from the IV in your arm and marked to a radioactive tracer.
  • It will then be reinjected into your arm or IV.
  • Scanning starts immediately after receiving the blood back and takes about 1 hour.
  • You will not feel anything different from the injected material.
  • The procedure takes about 1½ hours.

After the Procedure

  • After the test increase your fluid intake unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • The radioactive substance given during this procedure is Tc99m NaTc04.

Thank you for letting us perform your examination. Your images will be interpreted by Regional Diagnostic Radiologists (RDR). It is our goal to have the report available to your provider within 24 hours.

Your provider has requested we inform you that it may take him/her 3-5 working days before they notify you with results. If you have not been notified by the fifth working day, you may call your provider for the results. If you already have a follow up appointment scheduled with your provider, they may wait to inform you of your results at that time.

If you have any questions about your examination, please call your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO