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Aga Khan University Hospital Becomes First In
E. A. to Acquire Ultra-Modern PET CT Scanner

Coastweek -- Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Nairobi has acquired an ultra-modern Positron Emission Tomography (PET) CT scanner and Cyclotron, a first in East and Central Africa.

This pace setting equipment is currently being installed and a comprehensive staff training programme is underway to prepare the launch in March 2018.

“Aga Khan University Hospital continues to be at the front of the fight against non-communicable diseases through evidence-based medicine backed by res-earch, a team-based approach and modern technology,” said Shawn Bolouki, Chief Executive Officer.

“Patients will no longer have to travel to India or abroad to get this service as it will be available right here in Nairobi.

“The technology was acquired at an approximate cost of US $ 6 Million equivalent to Ksh 600M, and will revolutionise diagnos-tics and treatment in the region,”  Professor Sudhir Vinayak, Chair, Department of Radiology at Aga Khan University Hospital explained, “A PET CT scan is an imaging test that is used to diagnose diseases, plan treatment, to find out how a condition is progressing and to see how effective treatment is on the disease.

 

 
  Coastweek -- Positron Emission Tomography (PET) CT scanner and Cyclotron.

“This combined technology will change diagnostic medicine in the region.”

“It will enable doctors to identify health threats at the cell-level thus giving them the best view and time of treatment for complex diseases such as cancer and heart diseases, brain and other central nervous system problems, thereby improving treatment outcomes.

“A cyclotron is a type of compact particle accelerator used to produce small quantities of radioactive isotopes, a substance required for the PET imaging.”

“Information generated from PET CT scans enables oncol-ogists to make better treatment and follow up plans for cancer patients.

“In certain cancer situations, this information is critical in making decisions regarding treatment options including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy,” explained Dr. Asim Jamal, Section Head Medical Oncology at AKUH.

“This technology can reveal the presence and stage of cancer, including whether and where the cancer has spread to, and help doctors decide on treatment.

“PET/CT also give us an indic-ation of how well chemotherapy is working and can detect a recurring tumour sooner than any other diagnostic modalities,” he said. 

While an MRI and CT scan shows how a particular part of the body looks, a PET/CT scan can reveal how it is functioning.

This is an important aspect for cardiologists and cardiac surg-eons too as it enables them to detect which parts of the heart have been damaged or scarred.

“It can also help identify blood and oxygen circulation problems in the heart.

PET/CT scan technology is also critical in neurosciences especially in the diagnosis of neurological conditions such as dementia and epilepsy.

“PET/CT service will be offered as an outpatient procedure, unless the patient is already admitted to the hospital, and lasts for at most 30 minutes”, Profe-ssor Vinayak concluded.

The acquisition of this highly specialised system by Aga Khan University Hospital, the only Joint Commission International accre-dited hospital in Kenya, reaffirms its premier status as the leading provider of quality clinical care, teaching and research in sub-Saharan Africa.

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