Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Loyola offering most advanced PET/CT scanner on the market

Patient-friendly exams take just 15-20 minutes

MAYWOOD, Ill. (April 8, 2014) - Loyola University Medical Center is now offering patients the most advanced PET/CT scanner on the market.

The state-of-the-art system is improving the  diagnosis and treatment of cancer, heart disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

The Philips Gemini TruFlight® system merges computed tomography (CT), which shows anatomy, with positron emission tomography (PET), which shows metabolic activity. The noninvasive exam takes just 15 or 20 minutes. The patient, lying on an open gantry, is never completely enclosed and can interact with staff.

“It is the most patient-friendly system of its kind,” said Robert Wagner, MD, medical director, Nuclear Medicine.

A CT scan combines an array of X-rays to produce a 3-D image. For example, a CT scan  can show, in exquisite detail, the structural anatomy of a tumor.

The PET scan, in turn, can reveal metabolic “hot spots.” Before the exam, a patient is given a radiopharmaceutical, which is absorbed by organs and tissues that use the most energy. For example, cancer cells, which use more energy than healthy cells, absorb more of the radiopharmaceutical and thus light up the image.

In addition to detecting a tumor, a PET/CT scan can show precisely where it is located, whether it is benign or malignant and whether it has spread. A PET/CT scan also can be used to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy and determine whether a tumor has recurred.

In cardiovascular patients, a PET/CT scan can determine whether heart muscle damaged in a heart attack is still viable. The scan also can detect cardiac sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.

In neurological patients, a PET/CT scan can determine the location in the brain where epileptic seizures are originating. The system also can detect amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Many other applications for PET/CT scans are being developed, Wagner said. “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg.”

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.