The course of the F18-FDG whole-body PET-CT examination

 

Arrival – check-in (10-15 minutes)

Examinations are performed based on advance booking. The patient gets a personal notice about the planned time of the examination in a letter, fax or on the phone. After patients arrived to the centre they have to report themselves at the reception of the PET-CT centre where the reception and registration of arriving patients take place. Patients are pleased not to be late, they should rather come a little bit earlier for the appointment because the isotope used during the examination degrades and becomes non-usable within a few hours. Delay may result in disconcertion of performing the examination.
At the reception our colleagues check the patients’ identity, if they come for a financed examination they check the validity of their health insurance card, they record the personal data, fill in the necessary forms and review the course of the examination briefly. Based on this the patients have to sign a declaration of patient rights about the fact that they were given the proper information and agrees on performing the examination (informed consent).


Preparation for the PET-CT examination – questioning, assessment of health status, individual examination plan (15-30 minutes)

During preparation of the patient we take medical history (anamnesis) then some assessment tests are performed (measuring blood glucose level, blood pressure, body weight, body height, etc). We ask for earlier findings and CD-s brought by patients, we copy the ones that are necessary for evaluation of the examination and we give the originals back. We do not keep the original documents, but if patients do not get the original findings/microfilms back they are asked to report it at the reception when leaving. We review all the circumstances that may interfere with the PET-CT examination or the results and we make an individually-tailored examination plan. During the preparation depending on the examination protocol it may happen that the patient has to drink oral CT-contrast medium (which is an anise-flavoured fluid). If the patient is claustrophobic or anxious he/she may ask our colleague for a mild tranquillizer.
If patients have any questions or did not understand any of the explanations, they feel that they did not get all the required information or they experience any disturbing condition during the examination, they have to inform our colleague immediately

Administration of F18-FDG and resting period (60 minutes)

After the assessment of the health status our colleague escorts the patient to the place of the tracer injection and then to the place of resting.
Patients get the marker substance in an intravenous injection and after that they have to lie still and rest for about 45-60 minutes in a room specially established for this purpose. During the waiting period the complete physical and mental calmness is important.
During this period the patient has to consume the prepared contrast medium. After waiting for 45-60 minutes – right before the PET-CT examination – our colleague asks the patient to go to the toilet. Emptying the bladder is important because one fourth of the F18-FDG administered by the end of the waiting period concentrates in the bladder which may disturb the assessment of possible disorders of the pelvis.

The PET-CT examination (15-40 minutes)

Our colleague escorts the patient into the camera room and helps lying down onto the examination table. During the examination the table together with the patient goes through the PET-CT „tunnel” according to a specific program in 15-40 minutes and meanwhile the patient has to lie still. In the first almost 1 minute the CT examination is performed that may be accompanied by a little noise. This is followed by the PET scan which is completely noiseless.
In the PET-CT camera there are microphones and loud-speakers with the help of which the patient can communicate with the operator. If the patient has any problems arising during the examination, he/she has to indicate it to our colleague immediately.
After completing the examination our colleague helps the patient getting off the table and with this the examination is finished.

Leaving

After the examination the patient can leave. In the 24 hours following the examination patients should avoid spending much time with small children and pregnant women. But at the same time excessive fluid intake and frequent urination is recommended to precipitate the elimination of the signalling substance.

Handing out the findings

The colleagues at our company know that getting the findings is often urgent, and that is why the customer service informs the patient during registration about when findings will be expectedly available (usually within 2-3 workdays). Patients can take their findings personally or through their attorney at the reception of our centre where the examination was performed. If taking the findings cannot be solved personally, we post them to the patient. Patients get both copies of the findings and the image documentation as well.