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A New PET/CT Scanner is Launched at the Agenskalns Clinic, an Important Contribution to Oncological Examination Possibilities

The launch of the second digital PET/CT scanner in Latvia, at the clinic in Agenskalns, represents an important contribution to diagnostic exam possibilities and reduction of mortality in oncological patients.
PET/CT imaging is an examination of systemic importance that provides modern care possibilities for oncological patients. At the ARS clinics, we perform more than 200 examinations a month, a large part of the costs for the patients is covered by the National Health Service. As the national centre of competence, and the largest provider of PET diagnostic services in Latvia today, on the whole ARS performs more than 95% of these diagnostic examinations in the country.

Expanding the possibilities of PET/CT diagnostics

A new and modern Philips Vereos premium-class digital PET/CT scanner has been installed at the ARS Centre for Nuclear Medicine in the Agenskalns Neighbourhood in Riga in the spring of 2024. It is the second digital PET/CT diagnostic scanner purchased by ARS Medical Centre. It is one of the most advanced diagnostic examination scanners in the world; thanks to the combined use of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT), it allows performing in-depth examinations of patients with oncological and non-oncological (cardiological, neurological, pulmonology, infectious, inflammatory etc.) diseases.

Planning the most appropriate patient treatment tactics using PET/CT technology

According to Dr Marika Kalnina, nuclear radiologist, Head of “ARS Kodolmedicīnas klīnika”, ‘More than 11,400 new oncological cases are discovered in Latvia each year, with a rather high mortality rate compared to the average level in Europe, so more and more PET examinations need to be performed for our patients. Over a period of 8 years, we have come to the point where the purchase of a second PET diagnostic scanner was required.

On the whole, the popularity of diagnostic nuclear medicine examinations continues to grow among professionals globally, with the number of PET scans increasing by 10 per cent on average each year. The number of PET examinations performed at our ARS clinics in Latvia has also increased by 27 per cent overt the last year. In Latvia, we cooperate with all university clinics, major regional hospitals and their leading experts. Physicians increasingly appreciate the advantages provided by the PET imaging method as well as the unique competence and experience of ARS experts in the diagnostics of oncological and other diseases. The results of PET/CT diagnostic examination have a significant impact on further patient treatment tactics. Use of PET/CT imaging allows to better determine the type of treatment suitable for the specific patient. PET/CT is of systemic importance in oncology; it plays an important role in the care of patients with oncological diseases, it increases the chances of targeting the most appropriate therapy precisely and thus helps to achieve better treatment results as well as to reduce mortality from oncological diseases.

‘PET/CT, a combination of PET and CT imaging, is one of the most accurate methods in cancer diagnostics. It enables performing quick and accurate patient examinations to determine the spread of the disease processes,’ radiologist Marika Kalnina explains. ‘It is very important in further therapy, as PET/CT helps to identify changes in cellular metabolism at an early stage when changes in tissue structure are not yet visible using standard methods. This test can find cancer cells or inflammatory foci in the entire body.’
PET/CT imaging is used in cases where the patient has been diagnosed with a malignant tumour or where an assessment of treatment effectiveness is required after a surgery or chemotherapy, as well as in cases of suspect cancer recurrence. Though PET/CT is most commonly used in oncology, it is also being used increasingly in cardiology, neurology and other clinical fields.

In high esteem elsewhere in the world too

Since 2022,  “Medicīnas centrs ARS” is an accredited centre of excellence, part of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, with its status renewed every year. Upon obtaining the reference status, PET/CT imaging services provided at the ARS clinics are standardised at the European level. This means that these services are as accurate diagnostically as those provided at other top university centres of nuclear medicine in Europe. This also attests the high working skills and work quality of our PET team and specialists. Our work is also highly estimated by the International Atomic Energy Agency; we are involved in several international multi-centre clinical trials and, with the kind consent of our patients, we conduct world-class research together with other developed countries. Thus we are able to offer equivalent data that helps to improve the quality of patient examinations and contributes to the development of the industry, and brings new discoveries not only in Latvia, but also on a global scale.

PET/CT imaging is used for these common malignant diseases:

  • Lymph node or blood cancer
  • Lung, bronchial cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon and rectal cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Prostate cancer (PSMA ligand imaging)
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix and ovaries
  • Testicular cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Kidney and bladder cancer
  • Cancer of an unknown location

Other common diseases when PET/CT imaging is used:

  • Fever of an unclear origin, for the diagnosis of the source and foci of infection
  • Infections of various prosthetic devices and implants
  • Diagnosis of spondylodiscitis
  • Sarcoidosis, including cardiac sarcoidosis
  • Differentiation of neurodegenerative diseases
  • Diagnosis of epilepsy before surgery
  • Diagnosis of myocardial viability after infarctions
  • Diagnosis of vasculitis

In the picture (left to right): Team of PET/CT physicians and specialists, chief radiographer Reinis Karklevalks, PET/CT patient coordinator Silvija Baiba Pastva, nuclear radiologist Dr Jelena Kedrova, medical physicist Vineta Vanaga, nuclear radiologist and Head of the ARS Clinic for Nuclear Medicine Clinic, Dr Marika Kalnina, Director of Medical Technology Ugis Zilde.

PET/CT examinations are performed at the following facilities:

  • ARS Kodolmedicīnas klīnika
    Gardenes iela 13, Riga, Latvia
  • ARS Diagnostikas klīnika
    Jana Asara iela 3, Riga, Latvia

PET Coordinator, phone No (+371) 26 533 446