Justyna Szymczak


The laboratory is open Monday to Friday
from 8.00 a.m. to 13.00 p.m.


phone: 71 36 89 314

fax: 71 36 89 315

mob. phone: 781 440 236

e-mail: petct@dco.com.pl




POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) is one of the most advanced diagnostic imaging methods and belongs to a large group of radioisotope techniques.


With regards to isotope techniques radiation is not emitted by the X-ray tube (used for x-ray diagnostics). It is emitted by the organ being examined. A radiopharmaceutical containing a radioactive isotope (administered intravenously) concentrates in the selected organ and emits radiation that is processed into an image of the organ. The radiation intensity doesn’t depend on the structure of the organ, but on its function (metabolic activity). All abnormalities (including focal abnormalities) are reflected as areas of increased or decreased metabolic activity.


The specificity of POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY lies in the fact that it utilizes small amounts of positrons (positively charged particles) emitted by certain radioactive elements. Positrons are emitted by artificially produced isotopes of basic elements essential for life, such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and fluorine. These isotopes decay very fast (within seconds or minutes) which reduces the radiation dose delivered to the patient.


Unlike other imaging techniques that visualize the structure of the examined areas, PET focuses on depicting function of the tissues, e.g. using isotope-labeled glucose visualizes the cells that metabolized it (and in what quantity). This allows for drawing conclusions concerning the activity of cells or organs and detecting abnormal activity at the metabolic level, when the image of the anatomical structure is normal.


There are many substances used in PET scanning and new ones are being developed. This allows for examining many complex physiologic processes, such as metabolism of glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, blood flow in different organs, This means that cancer can be detected at a very early stage, which increases the chances for successful treatment.


Currently, hybrid PET/CT scanners are used, providing higher sensitivity. This equipment combines standard CT, MR scanners that examine internal structures with PET systems that provide information on the function of the organs. Both procedures are performed in one imaging session with the patient in the same position, which allows for visualising abnormal cell function and superimposing a functional image on a structural image.


The parameters of the PET-CT scanner installed in DCO have been selected to meet the specific diagnostic and therapeutic needs of cancer patients and meet the highest world standards.



Patient preparation for the procedure is to minimize physiological FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) uptake in the tissues (kidneys, urinary bladder, skeletal muscles, heart, brown adipose tissue) while optimizing uptake in the cancer tissue.


  • Patient arrives for the procedure with empty stomach (at least 6 hours after their last meal) at the time set during the registration process.

Additional instructions- the day before the procedure , patients are required to follow a low-sugar diet (light dinner in the evening, no alcohol)  On the day of the procedure the patient mustn’t eat anything or use products containing sugar (chewing gum, candies, syrup etc.)


  • Patient should be prehydrated. He/she should drink about 1 litre of still mineral water within 2 hours before the planned FDG administration. Prehydration lowers the FDG concentration in urine and reduces the radiation dose delivered to the patient. The patient should bring another 1 litre of water with him/her.


  • The patient should also bring:
    – medical documents, especially the results of previous PET scans and other imaging procedures (MRI, CT scan) recorded on CDs
    – all the drugs taken on a daily basis (including insulin)
    – required hygiene items, e.g. in the case of patients with urinary incontinence


  • The day before the procedure the patient should avoid excessive physical activity (working out, cycling, jogging etc.) and therapeutic massage.


Notes on medicine administration:


  • Patients may take their drugs (not related to diabetes treatment) unless they must be taken with meal (e.g. hypertension medications etc.)


  • Patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes on oral medication should adhere to the instructions related to fasting. The patient must not take diabetes medications on the day of procedure (it also applies to injections, e.g. Victoza or Byetta). These drugs can be taken after the procedure.


  • Patients with diabetes type I or II should try to achieve standard standard blood glucose levels before the PET procedure (in coordination with the caregiver). When applying the marker, blood glucose level should not exceed 150 mg%


  • On the day of the procedure, the patient mustn’t inject insulin but should bring it with him/her.  Long-acting insulin may be taken the evening before the procedure.


  • In individual cases any changes must be agreed beforehand with the physician working in the PET laboratory. In any case the time period between the administration of fast acting insulin and the procedure should be longer than 4 hours.


  • If the patient is fed parenterally, parenteral feeding should be finished at least4 hours before the planned FDG administration. It must be ensured that infusion fluids used for initial rehydration don’t contain glucose.


  • 1,5 hour before the procedure, the patient can take 40 mg of propanolol (oral route). Propranolol can be administered if there are no contraindications to treatment with beta blockers. The prescription is issued by the referring physician. Propranolol can reduce brown adipose tissue 18 FDG uptake. It is recommended in the case of young patients with lymphoma, head and neck cancer and in patients with nervous excitability.


Additional notes:


  • Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to the procedure. The procedure can be done on pregnant women only when it is not possible after delivery; women of childbearing age are asked to do a pregnancy test on the day before the examination.
    The patient will be asked to sign a statement that she is not pregnant.


  • Patents shouldn’t be accompanied by children or pregnant women.


  • The procedure usually takes about 3 hours.





Note: issuing a referral for PET-CT does not mean that the patient is qualified for the procedure.

A patient is qualified when the referral form has been correctly and legibly filled in and delivered to the Department (in person, by fax or email) with all the additional examination results and copies of information cards. The patient will be informed by phone on the qualification and the date and time of the procedure. The examination result and the submitted documents will be forwarded to the referring physician or to the patient (as agreed beforehand).

If the referral is incomplete or illegible, qualification for the procedure will be postponed until all doubts are cleared.

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