The modern hybrid-scanner is one of the most advanced instruments in the diagnosis of oncologic, neurologic and inflammation-related illnesses. Internationally, the PET/CT is the gold standard of diagnosis of cancer illnesses. In Germany, so far the scanner remains accessible almost exclusively to university hospitals. Moreover, the clinic for nuclear medicine at Klinikum Landshut with its PET/CT is one of the mere five reference centres of the company General Electric in Europe.
With no certain diagnosis, the chances for a successful treatment become slim. The PET/CT gives clear findings and security for physicians and therapists in planning the following steps of treatment. The instrument is a combination of positron-emission-tomography (PET) and computer-tomography (CT). PET can depict metabolism processes in the body. Tumors, for instance, are known to consume a particularly great amount of sugar. This is why, before the examination, patients are given a solution of sugar with low radioactive activity. The PET then depicts all suspicious metabolism processes in the body. With the aid of the computer tomography carried out simultaneously, the exact spot of an anomaly in the body can be determined.
With the help of the PET/CT, even the smallest tumors can be discovered and treated more effectively than with other diagnosis instruments. Thus, successes and failures of a radiation- or chemo-therapy can be discovered at an early stage, because it is possible to precisely observe whether or not a tumor responds to the treatment. Such an installation presents patients with great possibilities; especially those at Klinikum Landshut with its centre specializing in prostatic, thyroid, breast, and colon cancers.
The PET/CT at Klinikum Landshut also has the possibility of breath triggering. If the patient breathes during the examination, the images of inner organs such as lungs or the heart can be blurred and, in the worst case, very small tumors can be overlooked. With the aid of a small box on the chest and an infrared-camera, a special software of the PET/CT at Klinikum Landshut adjusts the images exactly to the breathing cycle. The PET/CT at Klinikum Landshut is one of the few instruments in Germany that have this option.
The exposure to radiation of an examination is so low that no measures of precaution for the patient need to be taken. Due to its low half-life, even the radioactive marker is mostly inactive after about one hour. This is also a great challenge for the organization of an examination, because the radioactive material needs to be brought in from other cities, such as Munich, Linz, Klagenfurt and Berlin. The exposure to radiation of one examination with the PET/CT is comparable to a trip of several weeks to a high-mountain region. Thus, it is within the range of other nuclear medical and radiological methods.