Nuclear Medicine - Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Positron emission tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan, is a type of nuclear medicine imaging.   A PET scan measures important body functions, such as blood flow, oxygen use, and sugar (glucose) metabolism, to help doctors evaluate how well organs and tissues are functioning.

Today, most PET scans are performed on instruments that are combined PET and CT scanners. The combined PET/CT scans provide images that pinpoint the location of abnormal metabolic activity within the body. The combined scans have been shown to provide more accurate diagnoses than the two scans performed separately.

The most common uses for PET scanning include:
•    detect cancer
•    determine whether a cancer has spread in the body
•    assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan, such as cancer therapy
•    determine if a cancer has returned after treatment
•    determine blood flow to the heart muscle
•    determine the effects of a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, on areas of the heart
•    identify areas of the heart muscle that would benefit from a procedure such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery (in combination with a myocardial perfusion scan).
•    evaluate brain abnormalities, such as tumors, memory disorders and seizures and other central nervous system disorders to map normal human brain and heart function

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