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Raising the bar in patient care
with state-of-the-art Aquilion
And according to those who use them, only one word can describe the images projected by the new state-of-the-art Computed Tomography (CT) Scanner installed at Berlin Memorial Hospital (BMH) last week.
“Awesome. The clarity of the images and the speed in which we can obtain them are simply awesome,” said Dr. John Zwiacher, general/thoracic surgeon at BMH, who routinely utilizes CT technology for diagnosing and treating his patients.
The multi-slice Aquilion CT Scanner, manufactured by Toshiba Medical Systems, acquires lifelike, three-dimensional (3-D) images much faster than a traditional CT Scanner. Used to screen the body’s vital organs for disease and abnormalities, the Aquilion CT Scanner creates cross-sectional images, or “slices” of the anatomy in view.
“This new technology is the fastest in its class, but it’s more than just speed. It has clinical advantages that have changed our practice in many ways,” said Dr. Uri Vaisman, radiologist at BMH. “For instance, it gives us better insight into the human body because it can depict any hollow structure in the body with a great deal of detail and accuracy. This enables us to see signs of disease earlier than ever before, providing an opportunity to treat the disease more quickly.”
CT Scanning technology is used at BMH for a complete range of applications – from stroke and cardiovascular disease detection to trauma, orthopedics and conventional imaging studies of isolated body areas like the head, sinuses, abdomen, pelvis and chest. With the new technology, doctors can accurately view the size, shape, and position of soft tissue structures such as the lungs, liver, kidneys and other organs in determining or ruling out a suspected diagnosis.
Breakthroughs in Disease Detection
In addition to the traditional applications, the multi-slice Aquilion Scanner possesses the capability to conduct screenings typically done invasively.
CT Angiography is a detailed study of the patient’s blood vessels used to detect and diagnose cardiovascular disease. Traditionally, patients would have x-ray dye contrast injected into their blood vessels via catheterization. Such procedures carry significant risks of injury to the blood vessels, inappropriate clot formation and potential hemorrhaging.
Whole Body CT Scanning captures patients’ health from the inside out – revealing conditions like artery build-up, aneurysms, nodules, tumors and abscesses. It can also detect conditions in the spine, such as disk degeneration and herniation and osteoporosis.
Virtual Colonoscopy is a non-invasive alternative to the current procedure in which a scope is inserted into the patient’s colon and used to detect polyps which may lead to cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people over the age of 50 undergo colon cancer examinations every five to 10 years, or if cancer is prevalent in family history, starting at the age of 35. The virtual colonoscopy, currently being evaluated clinically for patients’ long-range outcomes, offers a promising future as the standard practice for detecting colon cancer.
Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring is a preventative screening that scans the heart and detects calcium
along the walls of the arteries, an early indicator of heart disease. The test
then produces a calcium score that identifies the patient’s level of deposits,
which his or her doctor uses to determine heart disease risk.
“Obviously, the benefits of this new technology to our patients are awesome,” Dr. Vaisman said. “They allow them to obtain results more rapidly from their physicians and may not have to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures, which essentially reduces their cost, risks and recovery time.”
From a patient perspective, the upgraded technology is more convenient, safer and comfortable. Because the scanner is extremely fast, the overall time required lying on the scanner table and exposure to radiation is reduced. Plus, since motion is less of a factor, patients are required to hold their breaths just once or twice and the radiologist doesn’t have to worry so much about motion artifacts.
The hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging department will be hosting an Open House event later this spring to offer the public an opportunity to see the new technology first-hand.