由 Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | June 05, 2018
From the June 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
On an average day, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston performs 100 PET scans.
With such a high volume, the center’s recent acquisition of GE Healthcare’s five-ring Discovery MI PET/CT system makes a world of difference.
The scanner has a 25-centimeter axial field of view (FOV), which allows for much faster scan times, as well as higher sensitivity, according to the company. MD Anderson is one of three large, urban facilities to have purchased and installed the new system.
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Metropolitan facilities, with bigger budgets and larger, more diverse patient populations, tend to be on the cutting edge when it comes to pioneering the latest technologies from OEMs and taking advantage of the advanced features that the companies advertise at the major trade shows and conferences.
These centers are also at the forefront when it comes to researching new diagnostic and therapeutic agents.
The need for speed
Improved throughput is important for any facility, but particularly for one with the scan volume that MD Anderson has.
Dr. Osama Mawlawi, chief of the nuclear medicine physics section and the lead PET/CT physicist at MD Anderson, said the larger axial extent has cut imaging time by about half in the room with the GE Discovery MI.
“The average PET CT took a half hour,” Mawlawi said. “Now we can do the scan in about 15 minutes without out impacting the quality of the image.”
Shorter scan times means improving the patient experience and increasing throughput. While the center has only installed one Discovery MI – with plans to purchase a second one “very soon,” Mawlawi said – faster scans mean less overtime for staff.
“At least now our techs can manage the workflow without being overstretched,” Mawlawi said.
The increased sensitivity due to the large axial extent also holds the promise of injecting less of the radioactive tracer into the patient. While MD Anderson has not yet looked at reducing the radiation dose administered to patients, continuing to follow the national standards for injected dose, it is eventually going to look at reducing injected activity, according to Mawlawi.
Mawlawi said he believes other manufacturers will follow GE, developing systems with a larger field of view. He noted that the University of California, Davis has been in the process of developing a PET scanner with an axial FOV of approximately 2 meters.