The PET Centre at the Austin Hospital was opened in 1992 and performed the first ever PET scan in Australia. The Centre boasts modern equipment equal to that of any centre in the world and provides PET scanning for clinical applications and approved research projects, including pre-clinical drug trialing.
In clinical applications, a very small amount of labelled compound (called radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer) is introduced into the patient usually by intravenous injection and after an appropriate uptake period, the concentration of tracer in tissue is measured by the scanner.
A PET scan usually takes one hour to perform and requires the patient to lie completely still. If a brain scan is being performed the patients head is placed in a special head rest and immobilised.
The following is a general breakdown of the whole PET process:
- Typically the Cyclotron is run for about one hour to produce enough radionuclide required for the preparation of the tracer.
- The automated synthesis module is loaded with the chemicals required for the radiolabelling of the tracer.
- The radiosynthesis is monitored and controlled by computer.
- The radiopharmaceutical produced undergoes quality control tests including chemical and radiochemical purity.
- After passing quality control, the radiopharmaceutical is loaded into a syringe and calibrated for the required radioactivity dose.
- The patient is injected with the radiopharmaceutical and left for the relevant uptake time.
- The patient is placed on the scanner and positioned as comfortably as possible. Scanning is performed for an appropriate time interval to collect sufficient data for an image reconstruction.
- The PET Scan results are displayed on the computer and interpreted by the physician.
Altogether my scan took 2 hours and tonight I am pretty exhausted!
I am flying to Queensland tomorrow for a week - looking forward to seeing my newest little grand-daughter who is 3 week's old today, and my little grandkids Lux and Evie as well. A good chance to have a rest and enjoy some sunshine and warmth before results on 10 Oct of both scans and decision making!
To all meso warriors who are doing it tough, my heart goes out to you. Sending you my strength, hope and love.