Alberta patients waiting for PET/CT scans may have to wait even longer than expected due to a mechanical issue with a machine that produces material required to perform the scans.
PET/CT scanners need a material called fluorodeoxyglucose. The material is produced in Edmonton in a large machine called a cyclotron, which broke down Sept. 28 and then again Oct. 14.
Alberta Health Services said Monday the cyclotron will be down for another seven to 10 days, after an Oct. 23 announcement it would be down all of last week.
AHS said urgent scans are continuing, with about 70 per cent of the normal patients receiving their scans.
“This is a longer delay than what was anticipated,” said a Monday statement. “AHS is taking every possible step to fix the cyclotron and return it to service as soon as possible to ensure safe production of the materials and staff safety.”
AHS said patients whose scans are postponed will be contacted; appointments will continue to be scheduled based on urgency. Health officials expect the backlog of patients will be able to be cleared in three to four weeks by extending scan hours to evenings and weekends.
For more information from AHS on the cyclotron delays, visit the AHS website here.
With files from Global’s Slav Kornik