PET-CT Scanner Update

Dr Richard Graham has reported that the PET-CT scanner goes from strength-to-strength with the number of referrals constantly increasing.  PET-CT Scanning takes place on 2.5 days per week and CT scanning the rest of the week, however in order to satisfy demand PET-CT scanning needs to increase to 3 days per week.  He stated that negotiations are currently taking place with the main radiology department as they are in need of all the CT capacity that they are currently using while they wait for a new CT scanner to be installed. This should be resolved soon.


Joana Machado (nuclear medicine technologist) presented a poster at the International Conference on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT in Lisbon about work  done to optimise the PET-CT heart protocol. This protocol involves giving the patient a special diet to alter the metabolism in the heart so it does not take up the radioactive glucose (which it normally does). This is needed to diagnose abnormal uptake in the heart due to infections of the heart itself or around artificial heart valves that have been implanted. Joana has optimised the protocol to very good effect so staff are able to be more certain of diagnoses. Heart infection is an increasing indication for PET-CT scans although still the vast majority (>90%) of work is still cancer related.


The Department has been granted a licence from the Department of Health to perform Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen Scans (PSMA) which will only be able to be done privately as the NHS has not agreed to fund these scans yet.  This is a revolutionary type of scan that allows recurrence of prostate cancer to be diagnosed much earlier. These scans are used routinely in Europe and Australasia with a mounting body of evidence of the usefulness of the scans in guiding patient’s treatment. It is hoped that the NHS will agree to fund these scans within the next year.


The scoping exercise has commenced with regard to the SPECT-CT replacement prior to starting the formal procurement process. Stewart Redman (Consultant Radiologist), Kathy Hopes (Chief Technologist) and David Little (Consultant Radiologist) visited a hospital in Brussels which has the latest GE Healthcare scanner installed to see it in action and understand how it improves patient workflow. There is only one other manufacturer of solid state SPECT-CTs and they have not yet been evaluated. Needless to say which ever option is chosen it will enhance the care that is offered to patients.  Dr Graham gave thanks all for the continued support which makes a real difference to patient care every day.