Angela Gucwa is a vascular surgery fellow in the Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina. Before her tenure at Greenville began, however, Angela Gucwa did significant research work involving PET/CT scanning. Angela Gucwa is also the co-author of several papers involving these studies and the papers have been published in such prestigious places as the American Journal of Surgery.
Several of Angela Gucwa’s articles mention PET and CT scans in parallel, but what is the difference between the two? PET and CT scans have two entirely different purposes. However, they are often used at the same time to produce a broader range of diagnostic information.
PET stands for positron emission tomography. This kind of testing takes several hours, according to Angela Gucwa, and involves using a radioactive tracer to measure different metabolic processes within the body. PET scans involve exposure to a large amount of radiation.
CT stands for computed topography and is used to establish anatomical landmarks. It is more similar to an MRI in function, says Angela Gucwa. CT scans take only a few minutes, and uses radiation to map bone and other structural components of the body. Together, explains Angela Gucwa, doctors can get a complete sense of what is happening in the body at both the structural and molecular levels.
In her work, Angela Gucwa has used PET/CT scanning and interrogated the issue of what is known as incidental findings. These are findings on a scan that are unrelated to the reason the scan was performed and may or may not be harmful to the individual. Angela Gucwa’s work examines doctor’s discretion in deciding what to do when such findings occur.