Tri-City Petct at Vista, Near San Diego, Introduces Groundbreaking Exam to Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease Earlier Than Ever

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This advanced study uses Amyvid™, the only radioactive diagnostic agent to be FDA-approved for PET imaging of the brain plaque associated with Alzheimer's.

Tri-City PETCT at Vista, near San Diego, has become the first imaging center in Vista to offer a leading-edge diagnostic test that lends fresh hope to patients who may have Alzheimer's disease.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease today. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States – and the only one in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Alzheimer's is also the only major disease that is consistently increasing in deaths, while other major disease deaths are declining. With the help of its new, innovative test, Tri-City PETCT hopes to reverse the trend for Alzheimer's patients and save more lives.

During the exam, an FDA-approved imaging agent called Amyvid (Florbetapir F 18 Injection) is injected into the bloodstream. If the patient's brain contains the amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer's, the imaging agent binds to it. This process makes the plaque visible on a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.

Before the groundbreaking development of Amyvid, detection of amyloid plaque could only be confirmed with an autopsy. Now, doctors can diagnose Alzheimer's disease at its onset – when treatment is likely more effective.

"Alzheimer's disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose, because other conditions can mimic the symptoms. The Amyvid PET exam provides the most sophisticated imaging available today to detect beta amyloid plaques, which are consistent with the diagnosis of Alzheimer's, especially in its early stages before more severe symptoms develop," said Stephen P. Schmitter, MD, Medical Director at Tri-City PETCT. Dr. Schmitter served as a consultant to Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, the maker of Amyvid, and has interpreted more than 200 Amyvid exams.

Candidates for the Amyvid study are patients with early Alzheimer's symptoms, such as memory loss. A negative test essentially rules out the disease at the time of the exam, allowing physicians to investigate the actual cause of the patient's symptoms.

The Amyvid exam is expected to be covered by Medicare sometime next year, with private insurances coming on board soon after. Tri-City PETCT offers flexible payment plans for its patients who wish to pay out-of-pocket for the test.

Serving San Diego County since 1999, Tri-City PETCT at Vista provides advanced PET/CT imaging for neurology and oncology studies. PET/CT is the evaluation of metabolic activity in the body (PET – Positron Emission Tomography) and structural anatomy (CT – Computed Tomography).

The imaging center's Philips GEMINI™ TruFlight is the first and only open PET/CT system, allowing staff to interact with the patient during the scan. Patients also benefit from 24-hour report turnaround and fellowship-trained radiologists who are highly regarded as the best in San Diego.

Tri-City PETCT is accredited by The Joint Commission and registered with the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR). For more information, visit

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Jessica Satterfield-Reyna
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