Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging is a Nuclear Medicine procedure that shows the molecular functioning of organs and tissues. It is used to evaluate a variety of diseases, and is able to detect the chemical and physiological changes of disease at a cellular level. This diagnostic examination develops images of the human body that provide information that often allows for earlier detection and more accurate diagnosis of diseases.
At Chester County Hospital, PET Scans and CT scans are done simultaneously for a more accurate reading of the patient's findings. With a combined PET/CT, the PET image provides a measurement of metabolic activity and the CT image provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy.
Being able to see metabolic changes at their earliest stages can be vital in discovering and treating many diseases:
- Cancer: PET scans can detect cancer and determine its spread. They can also be used to examine the effects of cancer therapy by characterizing biochemical changes in the cancer. These scans can be performed on the whole body.
- Heart Disease: PET scans of the heart determine blood flow to the heart muscle and help evaluate signs of coronary artery disease. PET scans of the heart can verify whether areas of the heart that show decreased function are alive or scarred because of a prior heart attack. Combined with a Myocardial Perfusion Study, PET scans can differentiate between nonfunctioning heart muscle and heart muscle that would benefit from a procedure, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery, to reestablish adequate blood flow and to improve heart function.
- Brain Disorders: PET scans of the brain are performed to evaluate patients with memory disorders of an undetermined cause, suspected or proven brain tumors, or seizure disorders that are not responsive to medical therapy and make the patient a candidate for surgery.
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