St. Francis Hospital introduces new CT scanner for early detection of heart disease

Roslyn 17 May 2005St. Francis Hospital, the Heart Center, is introducing the most promising new development in diagnostic imaging technology in years, the 64-slice Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) scanner. With its ability to see inside coronary arteries with unprecedented clarity, the new scanner is a major step forward in the early detection and treatment of heart disease. Moreover, the scanner is faster, more reliable, easier on the patient, and in some cases eliminates the need for more invasive exams.

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St. Francis is the first hospital on Long Island and one of just a few in the United States to acquire the new scanner, which provides a non-invasive method to evaluate heart function via previously unobtainable visualization of the coronary arteries. Utilizing a small dose of contrast, 64-slice CT angiography produces diagnostic images non-invasively in as little as 10 seconds. Faster scanning also reduces radiation exposure and significantly increases patient comfort because shorter breath-holds are required.

"The most exciting aspects of this technology are its accuracy, speed, and comfort for patients", stated Nathaniel Reichek, M.D., Director of Research at St. Francis Hospital, the Heart Center. "The prime candidates for the test are those who are at high risk but who have not yet been diagnosed with heart disease", he added, "and in some cases the scans will eliminate the need for invasive forms of testing such as cardiac catheterization."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. More than 1,5 million heart attacks occur in the United States annually, resulting in up to 500.000 deaths each year. In up to 50 percent of all heart attacks, the heart attack itself is the first symptom of heart disease. Early detection and intervention is the single best way to improve the likelihood of effective treatment.

Computed tomography is used to visualize specific anatomical regions of the body slice-by-slice. With four times as many slices as the older 16-slice technology, the 64-slice scanner gathers multiple images simultaneously and continuously, and thus provides greater fine-detail resolution. A computer collects the images and stacks the slices together to present a 3D image, which can be adjusted by the physician to highlight specific sections.

MDCT allows physicians to evaluate cardiac and coronary calcification, congenital heart disease and conduct presurgical or interventional planning. The technology is also used to evaluate many areas of the body and the limbs, including the chest, to detect lung cancer, pulmonary embolism and aneurysms, as well as the brain, abdomen, urinary tract, liver, pancreas and spine. St. Francis Hospital will install a second 64-slice scanner, dedicated to emergency-room use, by the first quarter of 2006.

"The foundation of clinical imaging at St. Francis Hospital is the expertise of our radiologists and researchers, and our heritage in ultra-fast scanning", noted Lawrence A. Reduto, M.D., Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs. "With this powerful new tool, St. Francis Hospital now has all of the latest and most important diagnostic imaging modalities housed under one roof, with some of the most experienced and highly-skilled physicians in the country interpreting the results."

St. Francis Hospital, the Heart Center, is New York State's only speciality designated cardiac centre and is one of the five busiest heart centres in the United States. A recognized national leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cardiac disease, St. Francis Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the metropolitan area with risk-adjusted mortality rates significantly below the statewide average for heart valve surgery and/or coronary artery bypass surgery.

Physicians at St. Francis Hospital offer unparalleled experience in the most innovative medical and surgical techniques and non-invasive imaging, including cardiac magnetic resonance and nuclear imaging, three-dimensional echocardiography, catheter-based treatment of congenital heart defects, radiofrequency cardiac ablation, pacemaker and defibrillator implantation, and a broad array of coronary, carotid and peripheral arterial angioplasty.

An expert in cardiovascular care for more than 50 years, St. Francis Hospital is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island (CHS), an integrated health care delivery system that includes some of the region's finest health and human services agencies.


Leslie Versweyveld

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