The Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center at Emory University Hospital has been awarded accreditation by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL), making it one of the first centers in North America to earn accreditation.
PET has greatly enhanced the ability to diagnose many diseases in the earliest stages, helping physicians improve treatment for their patients and ultimately, extending and saving lives. PET examinations provide the most effective method of diagnosing or ruling out many conditions, including many cancers and coronary heart disease. PET examinations can even be used for the early detection of brain disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
PET shows all the organ systems of the body with one image and replaces multiple medical testing procedures with a single examination. PET uses special radiological pharmaceuticals, called tracers, to trace abnormalities in the targeted area of the body. A PET scanner records these signals and transforms them into images that illustrate the function and chemistry of the area.
The Emory PET Center, established in 1993, is a modern, 3,000 square foot facility within Emory University Hospital. The PET Center includes a cyclotron for production of radio isotopes , two PET/CT scanners, one PET dedicated to cardiac studies, one dedicated brain PET scanner for research, and a Micro PET to study small animals.
The staff consists of five physicians, eight technologists, one physicist, one radiophaarmacist and one radiochemist. More than 3000 studies are performed per year; of those, about 70 percent are cancer cases, 20 percent are cardiac and 10 percent are neurologic cases.
"A PET center of high standards requires experts from various fields such as chemistry, pharmacy, physics, electronics and medicine," says Raghuveer Halkar, MD, assistant professor, Division of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine. "PET is a very useful tool to diagnose and help manage not only cancer patients, but also cardiac and neuropsychiatry cases. Since it serves and involves multiple disciplines it is important that the accreditation come from bodies representing multiple scientific disciplines, such as the ICANL."
The ICANL accreditation program evaluates the quality of critical elements of a PET imaging facility, in addition to nuclear cardiology and general nuclear medicine laboratories. The ICANL was established with the support of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Nuclear Physicians and the Academy of Molecular Imaging (formerly known as the Institute for Clinical PET).
The ICANL provides a peer review mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality nuclear medicine diagnostic evaluations by a process of voluntary accreditation. Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary. Accreditation status signifies that the facility has been reviewed by an independent agency that recognizes the laboratory's commitment to quality testing.