Patients needing CT (Computed Tomography) scans at Christchurch Hospital now have access to one of the most advanced machines available on the market today.
The hospital's Radiology Department has recently commissioned a $2 million Siemens Somatom Definition Flash CT scanner, capable of ultra fast, low dose CT imaging thanks to its dual X-ray tubes and detectors.
CT scanning is a medical imaging procedure that uses X-rays and a computer to produce 2D images or 'slices' through selected areas of the body. Christchurch Hospital performs about 20,000 of these each year.
Dr Sharyn MacDonald says the scanner is one of the most advanced available because of its speed, imaging options, image quality, and radiation dose minimisation features.
"This machine uses some of the best technology in the world. Some scans can be completed in a fraction of a second – which is a huge advantage for imaging unwell patients. It can scan from the shoulders down to the pelvis in under two seconds, and can also freeze the motion of the heart so that the cardiac vessels can clearly be seen," Dr MacDonald says.
"Another key feature of the machine is a special technique called dual energy scanning, which can give extra information when imaging the brain in stroke patients and can also be used to determine what type of kidney stones a patient has."
The scanner has advanced radiation dose reduction technology as a standard feature and is particularly important for paediatric patients.
"We also have advanced image processing tools that allow detailed 3D images of the body to be created, and other images to be interrogated in special ways to assist in identifying abnormalities for example in the colon or the coronary arteries," Dr MacDonald says.
Despite the machine weighing more than two tonne, its compact intelligent design meant minimal room redesign work was needed before installation, however, it did require a new electrical mains supply and an additional cooling water supply.
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