Saturday, December 30, 2006

reading the report

Last night I reviewed the PET-CT report, which Dr. Dakin gave me on Thursday. Dr. Schuster informed me that the scan showed persistent "activity" in my spleen and in the lymph nodes in my abdomen and nearby the small intestine. The report seems to offer more specific information about what it describes as "hypermetabolic activity." As a lay person, I of course am not certain of what this term means but I assume this refers to the "activity," which Schuster mentioned at my appointment. Because the PET-CT report is so more thorough (so it seems) than what Schuster explained to me about my situation, I want to ask him if he could explain to me exactly what the information in the report means. Being told that there is activity in the abdomen is too general. The abdomen itself is a crowded place full of many different organs. I'd like to know where in the abdomen specifically is there a problem. Perhaps such information would be of no meaningful importance, but I have always felt more comforted by more detailed information. That is why I think I'd prefer to be given a detailed review of what the report reveals as opposed to a generalized description.

In my effort to understand better the medical and anatomical terms referred to in the report, I searched the Internet. I googled the various terms, which I didn't know and found explanations as well as images.

I know that my spleen is under assault and this I've known since August, so for me the spleen isn't a surprise. I'm more interested in asking Dr. Schuster about the areas about which I didn't know a problem existed and about which this report seems to offer detailed information: liver, porta hepatis, duodenum, celiac axis, and the left renal vein.

With regards to these areas, the report states:

Previously described small focus of hypermetabolic activity in the right anterior liver is no longer visualized. However, there continues to be multiple foci of hypermetabolic activity in the region of the porta hepatis and duodenum, without significant interval change in location since the prior study. . . . There is hypermetabolic activity in the region of the celiac axis, maximum SUV of 4.8, which appears to correspond to multiple subcentimeter celiac axis lymph nodes, which were not well seen on prior study. Just below the level of the left renal vein, there is a 1.5 cm hypermetabolic left paraaortic lymph node, with maximm SUV of 3.8, which has mildly increased in size since prior noncontrast CT of 8/14/06.

In the report's conclusion, an MRI or CT is recommended for future analysis. I feel like I need to ask Schuster about this recommendation.


Comment Anonymous Sarah said...


Do to a computer breakdown this is the first chance I've had to read your blog in a while. It's January 4th. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow and hope you'll let us all know soon how you're doing.

All my best wishes,

10:01 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

You rock, Sarah!!! Thanks. I'll definitely post an update as soon as I can.

10:35 PM  

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