PET is an abbreviation for Positron Emission Tomography and is performed in the Nuclear Medicine department. It involves the use of a radioactive substance called F18-FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose) which traces metabolic activity. The molecular and/or metabolic information provides an essential contribution to the diagnosis, evaluation and prognosis of the disease.
This has impacted effective patient management.
F18-FDG is produced in a cyclotron in Pretoria on the morning of the examination and is dispatched at 3.30 am to the airport. It usually arrives in Durban at about 8:00 am and is brought by a courier service to Westridge.
CT is an abbreviation for Computerised Tomography and involves the use of X-rays which are produced in the scanner and provides anatomical information. The PET/CT scan is a Nuclear Medicine examination with the added benefit of CT. This helps us to accurately locate the abnormal areas of FDG uptake.
The advantages of combining PET and CT include its superior lesion localisation inaccurate anatomical/functional registration; a better distinction between physiological uptake and pathological uptake; consolidation of functional and anatomical imaging; and a benefit in shorter total scan time enhancing patient comfort and minimizing issues with claustrophobia and movement. The average radiation dosimetry for 350MBq is 7mSv for PET (FDG) and 3-5mSv for the low dose CT component. (Poeppel et al., 2009)