What is PET/CT?

PET/CT is a major diagnostic imaging modality and tool used predominantly in determining the presence and severity of cancers. It may however also be used in several other disease processes that includes infectious, neurological and cardiovascular conditions. PET images demonstrate the chemistry of organs and other tissues at a metabolic level.

A radiopharmaceutical is injected intravenously and “captured” within the cells. This radiopharmaceutical then produces a “signal” that can be visualized by the specialised PET camera. The PET images are fused with images from the CT Scanner (that is incorporated into the scanner) for improved anatomical localisation and improved accuracy.

The most commonly used radiopharmaceutical used is a “radioactive glucose”, F-18 FDG (Fluoro-deoxyglucose). This radiopharmaceutical is taken up by cells that are more metabolically active, like cancer cells.

Dr HR Morkel Inc in association with other nuclear medicine physicians and local radiological practices, were the driving forces behind the establishment of the Cape PET CT Centre situated at the Western Cape Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Centre in August 2006.