Rapid advances in imaging technology are a challenge for health care professionals, who must determine how best to use these technologies to optimize patient care and outcomes. Hybrid imaging instrumentation, combining 2 or more new or existing technologies, each with its own separate history of clinical evolution, such as PET and CT, may be especially challenging. CT and PET provide complementary anatomic information and molecular information, respectively, with PET giving specificity to anatomic findings and CT offering precise localization of metabolic activity. Historically, the acquisition and interpretation of the 2 image sets have been performed separately and very often at different times and locales. Recently, integrated PET/CT systems have become available; these systems provide PET and CT images that are acquired nearly simultaneously and are capable of producing superimposed, coregistered images, greatly facilitating interpretation. As the implementation of this integrated technology has become more widespread in the setting of oncologic imaging, questions and concerns regarding equipment specifications, image acquisition protocols, supervision, interpretation, professional qualifications, and safety have arisen. This article summarizes the discussions and observations surrounding these issues by a collaborative working group consisting of representatives from the American College of Radiology, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, and the Society of Computed Body Tomography and Magnetic Resonance.
- Nuclear medicine