Sunday, August 21, 2016

PET Scan: A Critical and Effective Tool for Lung Cancer Diagnosis

PET scan stands for positron emission tomography scanning, and is a type of sophisticated medical imaging technique such as MRI and CT scans. This type of scan makes use of a radioactive tracer to identify changes in tissue on a molecular level. A PET scan can be used to look for cancer in the lymph nodes in the lungs. It can also reveal if the lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

The most common  radioactive tracer used in PET scans is called FDG-18, a radioactive version of glucose. When this tracer is introduced into the body, it acts as glucose does, and goes to areas where glucose should. FDG-18 is able to reveal cancer cells because these use glucose differently than normal cells.

For a more accurate lung cancer diagnosis, a PET scan is often followed by a CT scan. That said, there are actually machines that can do both scans simultaneously. In the case of early stage lung cancer, a PET scan can be used to identify if the cancer has spread to other areas, which can help determine if surgery is a viable option.

PET scans have no major side effects, and patients will not feel differently after the procedure. The only known side effect of PET scans is pretty minor, and this is the length of time needed to finish the procedure, as it often takes more than an hour. That said, after your PET scan has been completed, you are not “radioactive” and can have close proximity to others right away. You  may go back to your normal diet and activities immediately.

PET scan,
PET scan for evaluation lung nodules,

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Facts on Blood Vessel Malformation and the Use of MRI to Identify It

The circulatory system, which consists of your heart and blood vessels, is vital to the optimal function and survival of all the organs in your body. Any abnormality or obstruction in the flow of your blood can place certain tissues or organs at risk of deteriorating, which can lead to permanent damage. Therefore, defects in your blood vessels, namely the arteries, capillaries, and veins, can interfere in the circulation of your blood.

What is blood vessel malformation?

Also referred to as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), blood vessel malformation is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins. AVMs are typically present at birth any may or may not be symptomatic at first, and it can begin anywhere in the body, even in the spinal cord and brain, which can cause neurologic symptoms, such as headaches and seizures.

How can you find out if you have this disease?

Infants with major blood vessel malformation may have a bluish tint to their skin due to the poor circulation. Moreover, the symptoms of the AVM will depend on the malformation’s location, size, risk factor for the AVM, and the type of blood vessel involved. For instance, AVMs in the chest or abdomen can lead to abdominal pain, chest pain, back pain, and irregular sounds of the affected vessels. On the other hand, AVMs in the brain can result in persistent headaches, memory lapses, confusion, and bleeding in the skull.

How can an MRI help in pinpointing the location of the malformation?

Blood vessel malformations are best imaged using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan as it can clearly show tangles of blood vessels or lesions, which usually appear as flow voids. An MRI is a noninvasive and non-radioactive way of identifying and characterizing AVMs present in the body.

How can detecting the malformation help in treatments?

After detecting the AVM with an MRI, a physician can better decide on which treatment is best for the patient. Common treatments for blood vessel malformations include general surgery, medical therapy, endovascular neurosurgery (i.e. liquid tissue adhesives, micro coils, etc.), and stereotactic radiosurgery.

Brain Imaging in Arteriovenous Malformation, MedScape