Payson Regional Medical Center has added a 40-Slice Computed Tomography (CT) Brilliance scanner to their facility. The scanner enables doctors to see a patient's heart between beats.
A CT scan is a non-invasive test that produces a cross-sectional, three-dimensional image of human anatomy.
"The unmatched speed and sub-millimeter 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," said Chris Wolf, chief executive officer of PRMC.
CT scans are prescribed by doctors to detect and treat a range of ailments, such as life threatening illness, sinus difficulties and strokes.
The 3-D images that Brilliance takes help rule out or confirm the presence of certain diseases and could help evaluate the extent of injuries to a trauma patient, such as someone involved in an automobile accident.
The new scanner makes test requirements more comfortable for patients.
Breath hold times for PRMC's previous CT scanner for a chest scan were 30 to 40 seconds, now the hold time is five or six seconds.
"Patients are in a donut hole," said Kristen Kivett, director of radiology. They don't have that ‘I'm in a space ship' feeling she ascribed to magnetic radio imagers (MRI).
The main difference between an MRI and a CT scanner is the technology. One does not replace the other; they each have a function. MRIs acquire pictures with magnetic field while CTs use radiation.
"In the past, being able to handle some larger patients was sometimes a challenge because most equipment simply can't accommodate them," Wolf said. "With the Brilliance CT we can handle the additional body weight. Those patients will be able to benefit from this great diagnostic technology."
Generally, patients must remove their jewelry and wear a hospital gown when being scanned. The procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
Scans are performed by radiological technologists registered in computer tomography. Tomography offers several techniques for making detailed X-rays of a predetermined plane section of a solid object (a heart, for instance) while blurring out the images of other planes (like lungs).
During a CT scan the patient is placed on a table and moved incrementally through the 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 scanner before being sent to the attached computer.
"The new equipment allows us to capture more pictures per rotation of the scanner," said Larry Rosberg, who holds a bachelor of science as a radiological technologist and is registered in computer tomography. "There is more detailed raw data. That data allows us to reconstruct those images to thinner slices."
Thinner slices reveal more details, resulting in more definitive exam results.
Rosberg said that previously if a radiologist saw something questionable, he would ask that the patient have another CT scan. This was often worrisome for the patient.
"Now we scan the patient once and we are done," he said. "If we need thinner slices we go back and reconstruct them."
Scans interpreted by radiologists
"Reconstruction of the exam through the computer takes as much as five minutes," Wolf said. "Then for the physician to read it and make his report can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours depending on the degree of the study. There is a variable amount of time, but typically, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour would be the turn-around time from the time the study is done and the physician has the information."
The scanner is available for PRMC patients and emergency room patients 24/7.
Physicians in the community are all ready making patient referrals.
"PRMC is pleased to be able to offer this important improvement in healthcare services to its patients," Wolf said.