PET Scan

Gold seal - ACR accreditation for PET ScanHartford Hospital’s Department of Radiology has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in positron emission tomography (PET) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Learn more.


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PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.

About

A PET/CT exam not only helps your physician diagnose a problem, it also helps predict the likely outcome of various therapeutic alternatives, pinpoint the best approach to treatment, and monitor your progress

PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.

A PET exam detects changes in cellular function – how your cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen. Since these cellular-level changes often precede more substantial problems, PET can provide information that enables your physician to make an early diagnosis.

A CT scan uses a combination of x-rays and computers to give the radiologist a non-invasive way to see inside your body. One advantage of CT is its ability to rapidly acquire multiple two-dimensional image slices of your anatomy. Using a computer these 2-D images can be presented in 3-D for in-depth clinical evaluation.

The PET exam pinpoints increased metabolic activity in cells and the CT exam provides an anatomical reference. When these two scans are fused together, your physician can view metabolic changes in the proper anatomical context of your body. A PET/CT exam not only helps a physician diagnose a problem, it also helps predict the likely outcome of various therapeutic alternatives, pinpoint the best approach to treatment, and monitor progress.

National Oncologic PET Registry
The National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) is a collaborative project of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Academy of Molecular Imaging (AMI) in which over 1,500 hospitals nationwide participate -- including Hartford Hospital.

The purpose of NOPR is to monitor how PET scans impact the management of patients with suspected or known cancers. NOPR collects information on Medicare patients who currently have a cancer diagnosis that is not otherwise covered by Medicare. The information gathered is being used to evaluate possible future expansions of Medicare coverage.

This means that nearly all Medicare patients with a cancer diagnosis or clinical suspicion of cancer will be covered by Medicare for a PET/CT scan if the referring physician fills out simple NOPR questionnaires before and after the PET/CT scan is performed.

If you have any questions regarding the NOPR program, please go to the NOPR website, http://www.cancerpetregistry.org.

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Patient Resources

Download a PET/CT Scan Patient Guide
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When you arrive for your PET/CT scan, we will take a review of your history and any past exams. We will then perform a blood glucose test. This is performed by doing a finger stick to draw a small amount of blood to be tested immediately using a Glucometer. For the PET portion of the exam you will receive a radiopharmaceutical injection. For the CT portion of the PET exam you will be required to drink oral contrast. For most studies, you will have to wait for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute itself – typically one hour. During this time you will be asked to lie on a comfortable bed and relax during the distribution time. When the time is up, the patient is then asked to change their clothes and use restroom to empty their bladder, prior to the scan.

The PET/CT scan can vary depending on what we are looking for. It should last between 30 and 45 minutes. The table will move slowly through the tube-shaped PET/CT scanner. You will be asked to lie very still during the scan because movement can interfere with the results. You will be asked to breath normally during the scan. During the scan, you might hear a humming noise but you will not feel anything unusual. Our technologist will monitor you during the exam.

Before the procedure

  • Please arrive in Admitting Department Room 128 to register 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • From Admitting, you will be directed to go to the Nuclear Medicine Department, 2nd Floor, Room 236.
  • Do not eat or drink anything, except plain water, for 5 hours before your exam. Please also refrain from chewing gum or using cough drops.
  • If you take medications, feel free to take that with water. Do not take any liquid medication like cough medicine.
  • If you are diabetic, please do not take any insulin or glucose 5 hours prior to exam time.
  • Please do not exercise 24 hours prior to appointment time.
  • Please let us know if you might be pregnant or are currently breastfeeding.
  • We do advise that young children that are not being imaged remain in the waiting room during the whole procedure to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.
  • You should allow 2 to 3 hours for the entire visit.
  • If you have any questions about your scheduled procedure, please call 860.972.2831.

After the procedure
You may leave us as soon as your exam is complete. Unless you have received special instructions, you will be able to eat and drink following PET/CT exam.

Be assured that PET/CT exams are a safe and effective diagnostic procedure. The radiopharmaceuticals used in PET do not remain in your system long, so there is no reason to avoid interacting with other people once you have left. To be extra safe, wait for a few hours before getting too close to an infant or anyone who is pregnant.

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Services

  • MRI Scan

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology is unrivaled in its ability to produce high resolution images of soft tissue and structural anatomy.

  • Revolution CT

    Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) offers an innovative way for physicians to obtain the information they need to diagnose disease and life threatening illness, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and chest pain.

  • General Diagnostic Radiology

    General Diagnostic Radiology includes evaluation of the chest, spine, skull, extremities, hips, pelvis and abdomen. General diagnostic radiology is often used to evaluate suspected fracture or other indications of injury or abnormality.

  • Ultrasound

    In an ultrasound procedure, high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) are transmitted to tissues or organs and make echoes.

  • PET Scan

    PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.

  • Mammography

    A mammogram is used to evaluate an abnormal clinical finding, such as a breast lump, that has been found by a woman or her physician.

  • CT Scans

    CT (computed tomography or CT scan) is an imaging technology that uses x-ray beams (radiation) and computers to create detailed, cross-sectional images of an area of the body.

  • Interventional Radiology

    The Department of Interventional Radiology and Neuroimaging’s staff physicians have all received specialized training and are all certified by the American Board of Radiology.

  • CT Virtual Colonoscopy

    Each year, approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with a very common and serious disease - colon cancer.

  • Coronary Calcium Score

    The coronary calcium score screening is a CT scan used to assess your risk of heart disease. In just five minutes, this non-contrast, non-invasive test allows doctors to take pictures of your heart and look for blockages in your arteries that can cause a heart attack.

  • 3D Mammography

    3D mammography is the latest and most advanced technology available for the early detection of breast cancer.

  • Nuclear Medicine

    Nuclear medicine is a safe and painless imaging technology that uses small amounts of specially-formulated radioactive materials (tracers) to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases.

  • Breast MRI Scan

    Breast MRI is extremely helpful in evaluating mammogram abnormalities and identifying early breast cancer, especially in women at high risk.