PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – A PET scan is an imaging test that doctors traditionally use to evaluate patients for cancer, but it requires a dose of radiation, and a patient needs to lie still for 30 minutes or more. Some hospitals are now adopting new technology designed to capture sharper images in one quarter of the time, and that’s a big benefit for some patients.

If you’ve ever needed a body scan after an injury, or potentially for cancer, you know what it feels like to be very still inside a tight tube.

UPMC’s Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Theragnostics, Ashok Muthukrishnan, MD, MS says “A typical PET CT scan would be from eyes to thighs, which takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Because they’re already sick, they have cancer. Some are claustrophobic, so, when they get on the scanner, they’re really nervous.”

A traditional PET scan creates three dimensional images of the inside of the body, but first, medical technicians need to administer a mildly radioactive drug so cells that are potentially cancerous will show up on the images. Now, a new PET CT scan, called the Quadra is designed to work as four PET scans in one. It significantly decreases the time a patient is in the machine.

“So, for a scan that takes 20, 25 minutes, this takes only about four to five minutes,” Dr. Muthukrishnan explains.

Radiologists say patients need a lower dose of radioactive drug when they are in the Quadra and the images are sharper than produced by traditional scanners.

Dr. Muthukrishnan adds, “They’re going to get staged more appropriately and more accurately.”

In addition to staging cancer, radiologists say the new Quadra scanner can be used for diagnosing infections and cardiovascular and neurologic diseases.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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