If your loved one needed the highly detailed images provided by a 64-slice CT scanner to diagnose an illness, how far would you travel? Would you be willing to wait hours for the test to be performed? If you are fortunate to live near Carthage, you would only have to travel to ETMC Carthage.
And you would spend about eight seconds in the new CT while it performs a typical scan. That's the beauty of ETMC Carthage's new 64-slice Brilliance CT from Philips Medical Systems. The new CT, a rarity in rural hospitals across the country, features advanced technology that produces split-second high quality images, permitting doctors to see more anatomical detail in a fraction of the time needed for other tests. "We are very excited to offer this level of technology to our patients," said Gary Hudson, ETMC Carthage administrator.
"The vast majority of rural hospitals in the United States simply aren't able to offer this level of technology, but we are proud to be the exception." With this new CT scanner, ETMC Carthage's doctors will be able to more effectively detect and treat a range of life threatening illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and lung disease.
The possibility of discovering disease in an early stage, when a wider array of effective treatment options may be available, will help doctors make an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment for their patients.
"All the doctors are excited because this is leading-edge technology," said John Crisp, ETMC Carthage medical imaging director, "So things that we would previously have to send off now can stay here locally and be done and read by our board-certified radiologist."
The extensive image information the new 64-slice CT scanner provides is used to generate very detailed 3D images, which can then be shared quickly with the patient's physician, he said. One of the advantages of this new CT is that it will be equipped with software to reduce the radiation to the patient during cardiac CT procedures by more than 80 percent.
Within the radiation technology field, Phillips is known for the special emphasis it places on minimizing radiation exposure to the lowest levels while still achieving quality diagnostic tests, Crisp said.
The unmatched speed and minute detail of the new CT scanner will also contribute to more rapid assessment and decision making in trauma cases, where physicians may have to make life and death decisions within minutes. Patients will find the new scanner offers a much more pleasant experience.
While preparations for the exam-such as the administration of contrast dyes-may take a few minutes, the technology's scan times are so fast that patients will usually be asked to carry out one brief breath hold during each scan.
"Older patients and those with breathing difficulties or some other distress will really appreciate the shorter exams," Crisp said. "We'll have them in and out much faster, and their doctors will be able to access detailed, definitive results within minutes."
Another advantage the hospital anticipates is the ability to provide more large patients with a CT scan option. The new Brilliance scanner has a table weight capacity of up to 450 lbs.
"In the past, being able to handle some larger patients was sometimes a challenge, because most equipment can't accommodate them," Crisp said. "With the new CT, we can handle the additional body weight, and those patients will be able to benefit from this great diagnostic technology as well."
What is a CT scan?
A CT scan produces a cross-sectional image of the human anatomy which helps the clinician to rule out or confirm the presence of certain disease, and in some cases to evaluate the extent of injuries to a trauma patient, such as someone involved in an automobile accident. During the non-invasive test, the patient is placed on a table and moved incrementally through the donut-shaped scanner while an X-ray beam is projected through cross sections of their anatomy.
The X-ray energy passes through the patient and is recorded on electronic detectors in the CT scanner. This information is then sent to a specialized computer that reconstructs the information into individual slices and also combines them into a 3D image. The thinner the slices, the more revealing the detail is in the resulting images and the more definitive the exam results.