-- Technology, rarely found in rural hospitals, will help to diagnose certain diseases earlier and offer more effective treatment --
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 in Freestone County, you would only have to travel to ETMC Fairfield. And, once properly positioned within the machine, you would wait about eight seconds for the hospital’s new CT technology to perform a typical scan.
That’s the beauty of ETMC Fairfield’s new 64-slice Brilliance CT from Philips Medical Systems.
A rarity in most rural hospitals
The new CT, a rarity in most 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 Ruth A. “Raz” Cook, ETMC Fairfield 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 Fairfield’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.
Extensive image information
According to Anne Brooke, ETMC Fairfield radiology manager, “We can use the extensive image information we get from the 64-slice CT scanner to generate very detailed 3D images which can be used for diagnosis. We can then share those images very quickly with the patient’s physicians for pre-surgical planning and for treatment evaluation and follow up.”
The amazing 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,” Mrs. Brooke said. “We’ll have them in and out much faster, and their doctors will be able to access detailed, definitive results within minutes.”
Another advantageAnother 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 simply can’t accommodate them,” Mrs. Brooke said. “With the Brilliance 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 diseases, 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.