San Juan Regional Medical Center acquires PET-CT scanner

The Daily Times staff
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — San Juan Regional Medical Center is now offering new services, including a scan to detect cancer.

The hospital has the only full-time, standalone Position Emission Tomography-Computed Tomgoraphy scanner in the Four Corners, according to a press release from San Juan Regional.

The PET-CT scanner is a diagnostic imaging system that locates cancers by combining CT and PET scans into one.

A CT scan takes cross-sectional X-rays from an area, while a PET scan uses a radioactive drug to show how the tissues and organs are functioning. The tracer drug collects in areas of the body with higher levels of chemical activity. These often correspond to areas affected with disease or cancer, according to the press release.

By combining the two imaging technologies, the PET-CT scanner give more detailed information about cancers. While it is predominantly used in cancer treatment, it has also been used in cardiology and brain imaging.

The scanner will help improve the hospital's understanding of heart disease and neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, according to the press release.

Also, on June 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved San Juan Regional Medical Center to provide carotid artery stenting.

Carotid artery stenting is used to open narrowed carotid arteries, which are located in the neck and supply blood to the brain.

Plaque in the arteries can cause them to narrow or become blocked. Once the arteries have narrowed, it is harder for blood to flow to the brain. Carotid artery stenting lowers the risk of stroke and improves blood flow to the brain, according to the press release.

To receive approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the hospital had to show that it met minimum standards outlined in the national coverage determination, which include physician training, facility device inventory, and support and data collection to evaluate outcomes.