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Winthrop’s PET Facility Earns Prestigious Accreditation

Winthrop-University Hospital’s Positron Emission Tomography (PET) facility was recently awarded accreditation for brain and oncology imaging by the Committee on Nuclear Medicine Accreditation of the Commission on Quality and Safety of the American College of Radiology (ACR). PET scanning is a highly sophisticated technique that assesses organ structure and function simultaneously.


Ravikumar Johnson, Supervisor of the PET Facility at Winthrop, reviews a patient’s PET scan.
“The ACR Nuclear Medicine and PET accreditation process serves as an excellent quality improvement tool,” said Elizabeth Yung, MD, Chief of the Division of Nuclear Medicine at Winthrop. “Winthrop’s designation as an accredited ACR facility means we have voluntarily achieved and maintained a level of practice that promotes the delivery of the highest quality care.”

While x-rays, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) remain vital diagnostic tools, the PET scan can see what the other tests can’t – the body’s biochemical functioning. PET technology is unique in its function as a metabolic imaging tool that is based on molecular biology, which enables it to produce detailed images of biochemical changes which can be enlightening in ways that structural images such as x-rays, CT scans and MRIs cannot.

“PET scanning has become the standard of care for the initial staging and restaging of multiple types of malignancies, and has the ability to evaluate disease by assessing metabolic activity,” said Dr. Yung.

“When there are suspicious findings on a CT scan such as a mass or lesion, a non-invasive PET scan can be a valuable tool for further investigation,” said Ravikumar Johnson, nuclear medicine technologist and Supervisor of the PET facility at Winthrop.

PET technology is particularly useful in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and is also valuable for evaluating neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias because it can help doctors see changes in the brain that could be associated with the cognitive or physiological symptoms. PET scanning can also be useful in imaging the brain to assess a number of other conditions such as post-traumatic brain injury, brain tumors and movement disorders.

“PET scanning is also becoming applicable in the assessment of cancer patients to examine their response to therapy,” added Dr. Yung.

PET scans can also eliminate the need for exploratory tests and help individuals avoid potentially expensive and invasive surgeries later.

“Instead of an invasive procedure such as a needle biopsy, a non-invasive PET scan can be done to further characterize a lesion,” said Mr. Johnson. “There have been few, if any, reported side effects or adverse reactions to PET scans. The overall risk is minimal when compared to the benefits,” he added.

The goal of the ACR Nuclear Medicine and PET Accreditation Program is to set quality standards for facilities and to help them continuously improve the quality of care given to patients.

This voluntary accreditation program offers nuclear medicine and PET physicians the opportunity for comprehensive evaluation and review of facilities; personnel qualifications; clinical and phantom image quality; equipment; quality control procedures and quality assurance programs through a confidential, peer review mechanism. The program is designed to be educational, focusing on the primary factors that have an impact on the quality of clinical images and quality of patient care.
Vol. 20, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2010

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