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How to Get the Most out of Your PET/CT or PET Scanner

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If you're anything like me, you woke up this morning with one burning question on your mind: How am I gonna get the most out of my PET scanner or PET/CT?

You know the feeling, right? Every Cheerio in your breakfast: a gantry, your coffee: going down like contrast dye, every red light on your drive to work: a diagnostic hot spot, and every leaf on every tree: another dollar flapping in the breeze of wear and tear.

Okay, so maybe you're not like me. That's probably a good thing that will save you a nervous breakdown. However, as the owner of a PET or PET/CT, there are still maintenance concerns you should know about that can save you worry and a great deal of money down the road.

So, without further ado: the best advice on getting the most out of your PET/CT or PET scanner based on the experience of Block engineers as well as our partner providers, Manny Reyna of SWISS and Kevin Larcher of Larcher Medical Engineering.... drumroll please! 

Do the Right Service AND Do the Service Right

PET scanner preventative maintenance is more than just re-calibrating your system. While calibration is important and essential, a PM is also an opportunity to clean and lubricate the system.

Clearing the filters and getting the dust out of the cooling fans is equally as important to the life expectancy of the machine. Power supplies need to breathe. When they don’t, they heat up and fail.  What’s worse is that a consistently overheating power supply can cause other parts to fail as well.

In terms of lubrication, those who own a stand-alone PET won’t find many moving parts to oil or grease. Those who own a PET/CT, however, have a number of parts spinning around at very high speeds. This continued use breaks down lubricants, so they should be reapplied on a consistent basis.

Facility HVAC Concerns

One of the most important concerns for increasing the longevity of your PET scanner is not directly related to your system, but to the environment in which it is installed. Your facility’s HVAC accommodations can have a dramatic effect on your system.

If the air is too humid, condensation can build up on the radiator coils. When the fans come on, this condensation blows around and leaves white mineral deposits or causes outright electrical shorts. This was the case recently for one of our customers and tens of thousands of dollars in damages resulted. If the air is too dry, static electricity can build up and cause internal failures. Fixing these can carry a high replacement parts cost.

It’s important to note that your system’s chiller is an important part of keeping the operating temperature in spec, but it is not enough to keep the PET or PET/CT functioning properly if the ambient temperature is out of tolerance.

Other Longevity Tips

  1. You should reboot your scanner at least once a week.
  2. Put a UPS on your entire system if you can. At the very least, you should have one on your PET gantry.
  3. For systems that are considered “end of life,” do not worry. These can be kept going with qualified third party servicers who have PET/CT parts. Many of the “end of life” systems share components with PET/CTs that continue to be produced, so parts are still available and plentiful. Reputable companies stand behind their parts so used parts are an economical and reliable option.

Don’t Write Your PET or PET/CT Off YET!

The tips above have great potential to keep your PET system healthy and, if you’re at all like me, you too! A well-cared-for system gives owners, operators, and patients all fewer things to worry about.

Our last piece of advice is this: When you think it’s time to upgrade, check the value of your current system with a reputable deinstaller and reseller. You might find that your PET or PET/CT has more life left than you think.


Watch the video below for a closer look at the Siemens Biograph PET/CT series: