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10 tips to keep your PET alive

by Loren Bonner , DOTmed News Online Editor
This first appeared in the June 2012 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News

While choosing a reputable ISO can be key to getting the most life out of any type of secondhand equipment, there are a few things in particular end users should pay attention to when it comes to PET systems. Josh Nunez, product manager at Block Imaging International, Inc., Kevin Larcher, president of Larcher Medical Engineering; Manny Reyna, president of Southwestern Imaging; Don Bogutski, founder and president of Diagnostix Plus Inc.; Kevin McGehee, president of Marquis Medical; and Ken Smith, vice president of sales and service at BC Technical, share their expert advice.

  • Have regular PMs performed on your equipment.
  • Preventative maintenance needs to be a top priority. While calibration is important, it’s also an opportunity to clean and lubricate the system. Make sure the PM provider has a checklist that covers all required OEM service/inspections/ maintenance.

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  • Mind the environment.
  • If it’s too humid, condensation occurs on radiator coils. Fans blow the condensation around, leaving white mineral deposits or causing outright shorts. But if it’s too dry, internal failures can result. The chillers are important but cannot keep the PET/CT functioning properly if the ambient temperature is out of spec. All of this is important for the crystals.

  • Don’t forget to lubricate.
  • While there aren’t any moving parts to lubricate on a PET, the CT has parts spinning around at very high speeds. Be sure to follow proper lubrication schedules.

  • Reboot the system once a week.


  • Remember to put a UPS on the system
  • (at a minimum, the PET gantry). Having line conditioning and isolation is crucial to long-term reliability of the system. Dirty power is the “silent killer” of electronics.

  • Don’t give up.
  • No need to worry about systems considered “end of life” by an OEM. These can be kept going with qualified third-party servicers who have parts. Many of the “end of life” systems share components with PET/CTs that continue to be produced, so parts are still available and plentiful.

  • What to consider with ISOs (beyond reputation).
  • Make sure the service provider you choose has qualified, certified and properly trained engineers available locally. You don’t want to have an engineer getting on a plane every time you have a problem.

  • Get specific.
  • If you’re buying a used PET or PET/CT scanner, find a company that specializes in that modality. You don’t want to be left hanging for weeks or months while they look for the right part. You need a company that does it every day and all the time.

  • More on parts.
  • Make sure the ISO has an abundance of parts—especially used parts because they usually cost 25 to 33 percent less than new parts. This will help your company meet efficiency standards while helping to drive down costs.

  • What to consider with upgrades.
  • When it comes time to upgrade, check the value with a reputable de-installer and reseller—your PET or PET/CT may have more life left than you think!

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