64 slice scanning
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The fastest, most powerful computed tomography (CT) scanner on the market is now available at St. Mary’s Hospital.
St. Mary’s state-of-the-art Toshiba Aquilion 64 CFX scanner is so fast it can synchronize with the patient’s heart rhythm and capture images between beats. St. Mary’s is the first health care provider in Northeast Georgia to offer this powerful new diagnostic tool to the community.
In a matter of seconds, the Aquilion 64 can create photo-quality images of the inside of the body -- painlessly. Three-dimensional images of the heart, brain, circulatory system, skeletal system and internal organs can be obtained in about 15 seconds, allowing physicians to diagnose narrowed arteries, internal bleeding, early stage cancers and much more.
The speed and high resolution of the Aquilion 64-slice scanner revolutionize CT scanning, says Lyn Wilkinson, St. Mary’s Director of Radiology.
“For the first time in medical history, there’s a technology fast enough to create images of the beating heart,” Wilkinson says. “The detailed images created by the 64-slice scanner make it possible for physicians to spot things that can’t be seen in images from older scanners, including the narrowing of artery walls that can cause a heart attack.”
The scanner gives physicians the ability to detect disease early, while it’s most effectively treated, Wilkinson says. With early diagnosis, many patients are able to receive less invasive treatments with better outcomes than are possible with later diagnosis. Catching conditions such as arteriosclerosis early also reduces the risk of debilitating or even fatal heart attacks and strokes.
“Only 64-slice technology is certified for coronary studies,” Wilkinson said. “Slower scanners produce motion artifacts when imaging the heart, and that makes it impossible to see details. The Aquilion 64 is so fast, the speed of its x-ray emitter is measured in thousands of a second, and it includes an industry-leading quantum detector that can resolve objects as small as half a millimeter in diameter.”
Computerized tomography – CT – was developed in the late 1970s. It uses low-dose x-rays to create images of the inside of the body. In the last decade, technological advances have revolutionized CT imaging, increasing scanner speed and resolution while reducing the patient’s exposure to x-rays.
The Aquilion consists of a doughnut-shaped gantry, a moving patient table, and a powerful computer imaging system. Lying comfortably on the table, the patient holds his or her breath for a few seconds while the table slides through the gantry. As it does, the machine silently takes 64 cross-sectional images -- “slices” -- every 400 milliseconds.
The Aquilion’s computer system quickly assembles thousands of these slices into 3-D images. The physician can look at these color images from any angle, isolate any organ, and zoom in on any spot. With the click of a mouse, the physician can look even deeper, seeing the chambers of the heart or the inside of arteries.
The Aquilion 64 is excellent for more than heart studies, Wilkinson notes.
“Another area where it excels is pediatric care,” he says. “It’s often difficult for children to hold still for the longer times needed by older scanners. With the 64-slice, if they can hold still for just a few seconds, that’s all we need.”
People who have breathing problems also benefit from the fast scanner. Older scanners require that patients hold their breath for 30 seconds or more – longer than most patients with advanced pulmonary conditions can manage.
“It only takes 10-15 seconds to acquire images that may provide important information for their treatment and possibly lead to a better outcome,” Wilkinson said.
The Aquilion 64’s speed and fine resolution make it excellent for emergency use, too, as well as for diagnosing strokes, cancers, and diseases of the spine, colon, kidneys, lungs, liver and blood vessels.
The bottom line, Wilkinson says, is that the Aquilion 64 makes better care possible.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is that we help patients prevent illness or recover faster and more completely,” Wilkinson says. “Our mission is to be a compassionate, healing presence in our community. The Aquilion 64 CT scanner helps us do that.”