Cardiac PET vs. SPECT imaging?

The cardiology community is moving to a flow-based approach for coronary imaging.  When comparing PET to SPECT, Cardiac PET has the ability to quantify absolute myocardial perfusion at rest and stress.  Which provides a clear answer earlier in the diagnostic process by indicating which patients have limited flow and which do not, better identifying revascularization candidates. PET is the future of cardiovascular imaging due to its enhanced image quality with fewer artifacts, higher interpretive/diagnostic certainty, and less radiation exposure to the patient. The increased accuracy of PET vs. SPECT has been shown to reduce the need for unnecessary downstream procedures thereby saving healthcare dollars.  Reimbursement is also higher for PET vs. SPECT, setting the stage for an economic incentive for physicians to make the change.  This is an advantage for Positron, being the only company that offers a dedicated PET system.


Why should cardiologists choose the Attrius?

For over 30 years, Positron has been the leader in enabling physicians to provide high quality Positron Emission Tomography (PET) images with their proven technology. Positron offers the latest in cardiac PET imaging with the addition of the Attrius to their product portfolio. The Attrius, a dedicated PET system, is optimized for molecular imaging of the heart, making it the ideal solution for cardiologists and hospitals looking to add high accuracy and cost effective technology to their offerings.

Positron strategically introduced the industry’s first cardiac optimized PET scanner. Positron’s Attrius system is designed to provide a significantly lower cost of ownership, when compared to PET/CT.  The Attrius has a much smaller footprint, fewer boards, easier access to the detector modules, less power consumption, and automated tuning features imbedded within the gantry. This product can easily integrate into practices of all sizes.

The table limit was increased to 440lbs., permitting larger patients to be imaged. The table is also capable of loading patients from the front or back, improving the position options for imaging. Further, Positron’s cardiac PET scanner is one of the highest 2D sensitivity systems on the market today. It features more uniformity achieved in its slice sensitivity, consistency in the quantification from slice-to-slice, and the ability to more accurately define the locale of a lesion or perfusion defect. The system is designed to provide concurrent acquisition, reconstruction, image processing and display, as well as, other functions such as data archiving, without interference. The Attrius includes many key features in its design: uniform spatial resolution in all three planes; true dynamic and gated 82Rb acquisition capability; and a unique staggered detector design for optimal quantitative results.

The Attrius also includes a robust, cardiac specific, imaging software package designed to ensure effortless interpretation for today’s most challenging clinical cases for nuclear cardiologists who value high quality PET imagery at an affordable price. Additional features include heart disease specific software with the ability to monitor therapy, coronary artery overlay display, open architecture for new protocol development and customization and motion correction software.


Does PET compete with CT and/or MRI?

These modalities are not direct competitors but rather complimentary tests.

PET is a nuclear medicine imaging procedure that provides information about the function and metabolism of the body’s organs; CT and MRIs primarily show anatomy and structure. PET is also growing in its use for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI), a non-invasive test that utilizes a small amount of radioactive material (radiopharmaceutical) injected into the body to detect the distribution of blood flow to the heart. MPI is used to identify areas of reduced blood flow (perfusion) to the heart muscle. The test is typically conducted under both rest and stress conditions, after which physicians examine and compare the two scans and predict whether the patient has significant coronary artery disease. Although SPECT is most commonly used for MPI, PET imaging has gained considerable support and use in the field of cardiovascular imaging, as it offers many advantages to SPECT. The introduction of measuring blood flow with PET is profound and will revolutionize the way cardiology patients are managed in the future.


What is Positron’s relationship with Neusoft Medical Systems?

Neusoft Medical, headquartered in Shenyang, China, is a leading supplier of medical equipment, medical IT solutions and healthcare services.  Positron formed a joint venture with Neusoft Medical in 2005 named Neusoft Positron Medical Systems (NPMS). Through its joint venture, Neusoft and Positron have redesigned, developed and manufactured the Attrius PET system. Only the two NPMS JV partners can purchase systems. Positron has exclusive selling rights for PET systems in North America, while Neusoft has exclusivity in China.


Do any other companies offer a new dedicated PET system?

Positron’s Attrius is the only new dedicated PET system offered in the United States. The Attrius has many virtues that make it the system of choice for cardiac imaging, and a valuable tool in all imaging modalities. The Attrius offers high sensitivity, small footprint and is less expensive in unit cost, service/maintenance and operational expenses compared to PET/CT. The Attrius received Frost and Sullivan’s, 2010, “New Product Innovation Award.”


Is Ammonia (13N) an alternative to Rubidium (82Rb)?

Yes, the use of 13N ammonia has been well established in professional literature and is approved by Medicare for reimbursement with similar indications to 82Rb.  Due to its short half-life, Ammonia is limited to institutions that have a cyclotron on site or within very close proximity, thereby inhibiting routine use for high throughput facilities.  There are companies developing small cyclotrons enabling physician groups or hospitals to enter into this market more cost effectively.