Establishment of PET/CT in Norway
Background: The first dedicated PET/CT-scanner in Norway was installed at Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Center (R-R MC) in August 2005. The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical use of PET/CT during the first year of operation and to make reflections of implementation of dedicated PET in Norway.
Material and methods: All order forms from the referring physicians during the first year of operation were retrospectively reviewed. The clinical indications were grouped into different cancer categories, neurological diseases, and other diseases. Clinical research studies were also included. Data on referring physicians´ affiliation and the patients´ age, sex and place of residence were collected. All studies performed were 18F-FDG PET/CT.
Results: A total of 365 studies were performed. Among 320 patients studied on clinical indication, 312 (97,5%) were referred because of cancer. The number of clinical research patients was 45 (12%). 255 (80%) of the studies involved out-patients. An uneven geographic distribution of referred patients existed with the highest number from Oslo with 14.5 patients per 100.000 inhabitants and the lowest part from Rogaland with one patient per 100.000. 70% of the patients were referred from R-R MC.
Conclusion: The availabilty of clinical PET in Norway has been very limited and geographically uneven distributed. Cancer has been the predominant clinical indication. Norway is behind most relevant countries of comparison with respect to implementation of PET/CT-technology. It is important to establish a governmental reimbursement in order to achieve an equivalent level of PET-service for all patients in Norway.