Patient Stories & News

Diagnosis of Heart and Brain Diseases with PET CT

The PET/CT device, which is mostly used in the diagnosis of cancer, can be used in the by-pass decision of cardiac patients and in the diagnosis of some brain diseases such as epilepsy, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Yeditepe University Hospital Nuclear Medicine Specialist Assistant Professor Dr. Nalan Alan Selçuk stated that PET / CT device, which is mostly used in the diagnosis of cancer, also provides great benefits in the diagnosis of heart and brain diseases. Associate Professor Doctor Nalan Alan Selçuk answered questions on the subject.

In which diseases is PET / CT used?

We use PET (Positron Emmission Tomography) device in heart and brain diseases, primarily cancer. We use it in the diagnosis and follow-up of many cancers, especially lung, lymphoma, breast, stomach and intestine among cancer types.

How and in which situations does PET/CT device benefit diagnosis and treatment?

PET/CT mainly shows sugar metabolism. Since cancerous cells use glucose a lot, those cells can be viewed with a PET/CT device. We can follow the cancer in which organ and its margins in detail.
Staging the cancer is very important before starting treatment. With other methods, it was not always possible to show whether the cancer had spread to other organs, and could be noticed during surgery. However, thanks to PET/CT, we can see the stage of the cancer and which parts of the body it has spread. If cancer spreads to other organs of the body, other treatment options (chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy) can be applied without resorting to surgery. Thus, the patient is saved from unnecessary surgeries and costs are reduced.
After cancer treatment, we can also see whether PET / CT treatment is beneficial. In addition, if the tumor is noticed and biopsy will be performed, it allows us to achieve more accurate results with PET/CT device.

In which diseases is PET CT used other than cancer?

It is generally known that PET/CT is used only for cancer diagnosis. However, it is of great benefit in the diagnosis and follow-up of heart and brain diseases. It gives us information about which patients the by-pass will be applied to and which patients are unnecessary by showing the presence of live heart cells especially in cardiac patients before by-pass. If living heart cells cannot be shown in the heart PET study, then unnecessary procedures are avoided since bypass will not be beneficial to the patient. Thus, we can direct the clinician to choose which treatment option for patients with vascular stenosis with PET / CT examination.
PET/CT device is also a preferred method in brain diseases and provides early diagnosis of epilepsy and dementia (Alzheimer etc.) diseases. Epilepsy focus can be demonstrated with PET in epilepsy patients. Dementia diseases in particular, are irreversible diseases. Therefore, early diagnosis is of great importance in these types of diseases. If it is detected at an early stage thanks to the diagnosis, treatment will be started early and its progress will be prevented.

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