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ARS Diagnostics Clinic: Introducing the first digital PET/CT imaging system in the Baltic States

On Thursday, 16 May 2019, the first Philips Vereos PET/CT digital imaging system introduced in the Baltic States was presented in a festive event organised at the ARS Medical Centre at 3 Jana Asara Street in Riga, Latvia. The new imaging system, the only one of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, will enable medical specialists to perform high-quality examinations in patients with oncologic, haematologic disorders, certain neurological, cardiologic disorders as well as other disorders in improved ways.

At the presentation, Mr Maris Andersons, Chairman of the ARS Medical Centre Management Board, stressed the whole new quality standard to be introduced into early detection of cancer and patient safety as a result of the acquisition of this PET/CT imaging system. The new digital imaging system has been launched thanks to the successful long-term cooperation with Philips. At present, this system is the only one of its kind in the Baltic States as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.

The digital PET/CT imaging system represents one of the most advanced medical imaging systems in the world, enabling a detailed examination of patients with oncologic disorders in a combination of PET (positron-emission tomography) and CT (computer tomography) imaging techniques. ‘A PET/CT examination is one of the most precise methods in cancer diagnostics, merging PET and CT images into a single scan and thus enabling a quick and precise appraisal of the spread of the morbid process,’ diagnostic radiologist Marika Kalnina says. ‘This is crucial in the selection of therapy to be used since a PET/CT examination helps identify early changes in cell metabolism at a stage where changes in the cell structure are not yet visible. This system is also capable of finding lesions of cancerous cells in the whole body.’ Use of digital technology provides an opportunity to reduce the dose of radiation used during the examination, making it safer for the patient.

A PET/CT examination is prescribed for patients with diagnosed malignant tumours or in cases where it is necessary to assess the efficiency of medical treatment after a surgery or chemotherapy. Although the PET/CT scan is primarily used in patients with oncologic disorders, this method is also used increasingly in cardiology, neurology and other fields of medicine. Since 2018, the costs of PET/CT scans are covered by the National Health Service (NVD) for oncologic patients backed by the decision of a panel of medical experts as to the necessity to perform this examination. This examination is also available at the ARS Medical Centre and is fully financed from the national budget, thus making the service more accessible.

Acquisition of this PET/CT imaging system and other modern equipment available at the ARS Diagnostic Centre as well as the outstanding professionalism of doctors working at the facility has helped the ARS Medical Centre to achieve the status of a reference centre in Central and Eastern Europe. As a result of achieving the reference centre status, experts at the ARS Diagnostic Clinic are now fully qualified to use the new state-of-the-art equipment in training not only specialists from Latvia but also specialists from all over Europe. ‘I’m very pleased that the new and modern equipment used at our clinic not only enables provision of top quality medical care to our patients but also contributes to the development of medicine across Europe,’ Maris Andersons said.

This project was implemented in cooperation with Swedbank and with the support of financial institution Altum