Diagnostic imaging encompasses all procedures that allow morpho-structural and functional information to be obtained on organs and systems, in order to identify or exclude a pathology, monitor its evolution, and assess the response to medical treatment.
Nuclear medicine is an imaging method that uses radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases: thanks to the possibility of tracking numerous molecular targets in vivo and non-invasively, and to today’s advanced technology, nuclear medicine provides valuable information to the clinician for the correct diagnostic and therapeutic assessment of the patient.
Moreover, due to its molecular imaging qualities, nuclear medicine remains a unique tool in clinical and experimental research.
The Monasterio Nuclear Medicine Unit is the brainchild of one of the world’s pioneers of nuclear medicine and its applications in the cardiovascular field, Professor Luigi Donato. Established as Specialist Nuclear Medicine dedicated to cardiac imaging back in 1963, today the Nuclear Medicine Unit of the Monasterio continues in the tradition of diagnostic activities and clinical and experimental research in the cardiovascular field.
Quality, technology and continuous updating: these are our imperatives.
Thus, one of the first positron tomographs was installed in this operating unit in 1988, initially for cardiovascular research purposes.
Over time, the spectrum of services provided has broadened to include neurology and oncology: the latter now accounts for approximately 60% of the services provided, with particular application to the gastro-oesophageal area and paediatric oncology, which can be evaluated under sedation thanks to the collaboration of paediatric anaesthetists at the Monasterio.
In addition, the department continues in the tradition of reserving ample space for hybrid imaging of cardiovascular diseases with particular attention to vasculitis, inflammatory/infectious cardiac diseases and the early diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis with specific radiopharmaceuticals.
In addition to the joint work of nuclear physicians, medical specialists, medical radiology technicians and nursing staff, the Unit is supported by the Hospital Pharmacy and Health Physics Units.
The Nuclear Medicine Unit of the Monasterio operates within the Imaging Department, in close collaboration with the clinical departments of the Institution and the local region.
In terms of care, it provides for about 5000 diagnostic services per year.
Cardiological and nuclear medicine skills combined with the presence of dedicated instrumentation allow for high technical quality and diagnostic accuracy: in keeping with its history, nuclear cardiology activity characterises Monasterio, with over 2000 patients evaluated each year and the possibility of exploring all cardiological molecular targets (perfusion, function, innervation, inflammation, infiltrative diseases).
The work carried out places the patient in his or her complexity at the centre on a daily basis, with the involvement of numerous multidisciplinary professionals.
Care, training, research, and interaction with industry: this is the formula that has always characterised the activities of Monasterio Nuclear Medicine Unit, and which has enabled it to be one of the first centres in Europe to have entirely digital instrumentation, standardising the use of low doses of radiopharmaceuticals, and guaranteeing high diagnostic accuracy with low radiation exposure for the patient at the same time.
In terms of technology, the Nuclear Medicine Unit is equipped with advanced digital devices for both single photon emission tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET), making it one of the few such units in the national and international arena.
Research and scientific activity
Technological innovation, both in instrumentation and radiopharmacy, is the basis for aligning with the aims of an organisation aimed at clinical excellence and research.
Thanks also to close collaboration with the CNR and universities, Nuclear Medicine Unit is part of national and international research networks and a partner in international projects funded by the European Community.
Staff members are also present in the major National and International Scientific Societies, with active participation in congresses, and on the editorial boards of the major journals in the field, confirming the tradition that has characterised the unit for more than 40 years.
Digital imaging, coupled with new radiopharmaceuticals, guarantees high diagnostic standards, even allowing the synthesis of new tracers that are not commercially available.
Among the prestigious and differentiating factors of our Nuclear Medicine Unit is the impressive development of oncological imaging (more than 70% of the total services), but also the recent applications for the diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis, and the new types of PET imaging for the identification of endo-myocarditis.
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