NAGS HEAD, N.C.—The Outer Banks Hospital has added Dare County’s first PET/CT Scan (Positron Emission Tomography) to its list of diagnostic imaging resources. PET Scan is the leading diagnostic tool for many types of cancer, coronary heart disease and neurological problems, and is the most advanced, whole body imaging tool available for both adults and children.

“PET has revolutionized the world of diagnostic imaging,” said Van Smith, President of The Outer Banks Hospital. “Having this technology readily available at our fingertips allows us to provide our community and patients with the highest level of care possible. This test has positively impacted many lives in other communities throughout the country and we are fortunate to be able to provide this same kind of care and treatment to residents of the Outer Banks,” noted Smith.

In oncology (the branch of medicine dealing with cancer), PET Scan is the only type of imaging equipment that can accurately image multiple organs at once to diagnose malignancy and even provide information about whether or not cancer has spread to other parts of the body. In addition to cancer studies, PET Scan examines patients for heart attacks and looks for reversible damage as opposed to permanent heart damage. PET Scan is also used in neurological studies, investigating brain metabolism in patients with dementia and epilepsy.

“Unlike MRI, CAT scan or ultrasound, PET allows us to look at subtle changes in cellular metabolism,” said Lysle K. Ailstock, MD, Medical Director of Radiology at The Outer Banks Hospital. “Our other imaging methods provide highly detailed anatomical information, but when we need more information about how certain tissues are functioning, PET is required. PET is a great addition to our current line of advanced imaging services,” added Ailstock.

PET Scan is a molecular imaging procedure that generates pictures of the location and extent of disease. By imaging the molecular, biological and functional basis for disease, PET Scan enables a physician to detect abnormal cell growth and activity that may have previously been missed by conventional technologies. This information aids in the early detection and improved treatment of many diseases, allows enhanced capabilities in pre-surgical staging, eliminates the need for invasive procedures, enhances therapy monitoring capabilities and reduces the number of diagnostic tests.

PET Scan images are created with the help of three technologies: the cyclotron, which produces safe radioisotopes; the scanner, which records the location of the radioactive tracer as it accumulates in different tissues in the body; and a computer, which reconstructs the signals into three-dimensional images of the body.

For the patient, PET Scan is a safe and painless procedure with no known side effects. The system will be conveniently available for studies at The Outer Banks Hospital on alternate Saturdays.

About Imaging Services at The Outer Banks Hospital

The Imaging Department at The Outer Banks Hospital uses a filmless, digital system that includes a state-of-the-art Picture Archiving and Communication System for all tests. Voice recognition technology allows radiologists to render highly accurate reports in a fraction of the time required by traditional transcription methods. The hospital’s imaging specialties include: diagnostic radiology, mammography, ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services and nuclear medicine.

For more information about PET Scan or other imaging services at The Outer Banks Hospital, please call 252.449.5918 or visit www.theobh.com.

Photo note: PET Scan, now available at The Outer Banks Hospital, is the leading diagnostic tool for many types of cancer, coronary heart disease and neurological problems, and is the most advanced, whole body imaging tool available for both adults and children.