This week, we’ve been recognising the vital role that Radiographers play in our health systems with World Radiography Day. To mark this important day, the University of Leeds hosted a virtual celebration, with a range of speakers talking all things Radiography. We went along to see David Ellwood, Senior PET-CT Radiographer at Alliance Medical, give a talk on the role Radiography plays in PET-CT.
David’s talk provided a fantastic introduction to the history and science behind PET-CT, with practical demonstrations of how it is put into practice today. Starting with PET-CT’s humble origins, David described how the first Positron Imaging Device was produced in Massachusetts in the 1952. It was fascinating to see how basic these early images were, and how far the technology has been developed since then. After giving a summary of the science behind Positron imaging, David then showed the inside of a Cyclotron and how it produces Fluorine-18, one of the most widely used isotopes in PET-CT imaging – basically a sort of small-scale Hadron Collider.
From there, we were treated to wide range of images that show how the body reacts to Fluoride-18 uptake, and the factors that can influence it, such as working out or vaping before the scan. It was particularly eye-opening to learn that patients were not allowed to read or talk whilst waiting in the uptake room, as this can lead to high muscle uptake in the eyes and vocal chords, which affects the quality of the scans. This highlights how important it is for Radiographers to have excellent patient care and communication skills. David went on to describe other key qualities that Radiographers need, including a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology and oncology, the ability to work responsibly, autonomously and under pressure – as well as a love for big shiny scanners!
All in all, David’s talk was entertaining, insightful and informative, and provided one of the best portraits of what life is like as a Radiographer in PET-CT. We appreciate University of Leeds for putting on this virtual celebration, and for booking such a wide range of fascinating speakers. We also enjoyed Voyin Pantic‘s retrospective on how the technology of Radiography has evolved through the ages, as well as Nick Crohn‘s fascinating insights into his career as a Forensic Radiographer.
For more information on how to become a Radiographer, go to radiographycareers.co.uk