The patient’s breathing, time since injection, and the amount of injection—all of these cause variability in the PET scan. In order to monitor treatment early and effectively, the entire patient care team needs access to a consistent measurement over time. In PET/CT, that’s called Standard Uptake Value (SUV).
To respond to this need, GE Healthcare introduced Q.Suite, a collection of technologies designed to minimize variability and provide a consistent SUV measurement, according to the company. “These tools correct for respiratory motion, enable quality control throughout the workflow, lower CT dose, and provide the latest visualization software with quantitative tools for the reading physician.”
According to the company, it’s all about finding the most effective treatment sooner, based on each patient’s response.
Q.Suite technology is designed to help doctors provide more personalized care to their patients, says Amy Burris, global marketing director, PET/CT at GE. “Q.Suite on GE’s PET/CT scanners enables doctors to better assess biological changes in a patient during a course of treatment, which then allows the physician to quickly and accurately modify treatment regiments, if needed, based on the patient’s response.”
Burris notes that “lack of consistency, or variability, is one of the biggest challenges to personalized care, in general, and, in PET/CT imaging, in particular.” “GE understands that, in order for quantitative PET to be effective, certain key areas need to be addressed to help improve consistency: daily quality control, scanner workflow, motion correction, reconstruction algorithms, and analysis and reporting applications,” she said.
She cites, as an example, a patient breathing during an exam, which causes artifacts in the image and has an impact on the quantitative measurement of the lesion, especially in relation to the lungs, liver, and diaphragm. Q.Freeze, one of the eight components of Q.Suite, is designed to correct motion artifacts and restore the quantitative accuracy of the lesion.
According to GE, a consistent measurement in the PET image gives physicians a tool to help determine the effectiveness of a patient’s treatment. When using this measurement during treatment assessment, it enables the physician to modify or change treatment earlier in the care cycle, if necessary. Burris notes that this could potentially result in better quality of life for the patient and lower healthcare costs if doctors can assess whether chemotherapy drugs prescribed to their patients are ineffective and may have to be discontinued or replaced.
Installed at nearly 50 sites around the country, this FDA-approved solution has received a positive response from both technologists and radiologists since it was first introduced in early 2012 and first installed at sites in September 2012. Burris notes that, with multiple technologies working on an individual scanner, there is the potential for variability among the different staff members. “The calibration of the scanner and the quality control link will allow consistency on the day-to-day workflow and less time focused on these elements,” said Burris. One healthcare organization using this solution is Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
For radiologists, Q.Suite provides confidence in the measurement when they are looking at a longitudinal study, according to GE. This solution gives radiologists a metric and number to put on the report, which provides more information to oncologists. PETVCAR, the reading software, also provides a quality control link, which highlights variability from one exam to the next so physicians are aware of any potential variation for the comparison.
“Quantitative PET is a journey, and we at GE believe that PET’s greatest potential is in diagnostic imaging. We are always looking for ways to improve it and make the measurement as consistent as possible. This is one of our key foundations in our vision of PET/CT for future product development,” said Burris.