Presbyterian Hospital of Plano adds GE LightSpeed advanced Computed Tomography to radiology department

Plano 12 January 2006Presbyterian Hospital of Plano has acquired one of the first LightSpeed VCT computed tomography (CT) imaging systems in the North Texas area to provide highly detailed images of the human body while reducing radiation exposure to patients and improving physicians' ability to diagnose patient conditions. Manufactured by GE Healthcare, the LightSpeed VCT CT scanner provides doctors with high-resolution images in a fraction of the time previously required and enables them to more accurately diagnose a wider variety of patient conditions.

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According to GE Healthcare, the use of CT scanners to assist physicians in clinical diagnosis is increasing. An estimated 100 million CT scans are performed annually around the world, including nearly 50 million in the United States. This growth means new demands on equipment and staff, along with new and expanding applications like trauma evaluation, coronary artery calcification exams, neurological assessment and CT angiography studies.

"Our new LightSpeed VCT scanner enables us to help physicians effectively diagnose or rule out three life-threatening conditions with one simple, non-invasive procedure: aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, and coronary artery disease, which happen to be the most common causes of chest pain for emergency room patients", explained Michael Putman, director of Radiology and Medical Imaging for Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. Presbyterian Hospital of Plano acquired the LightSpeed VCT scanner in October 2005 and already is providing numerous benefits to doctors and patients.

Patient benefits include:

  • Reduced radiation dose
  • Faster, more accurate scanning means faster patient exams
  • Breathing lights help patients remain motionless during scans
  • Less time needed for breath-holds, less patient stress
  • Greater flexibility (e.g., can obtain thicker or thinner slices without rescanning)
  • Full CT angiography coverage
  • Better cross sectional displays and 3D images
  • Captures heart images in a single breath-hold

Physician benefits include:

  • Full suite of applications to assist in examination of the head, abdomen, spine and chest
  • Variable-speed scanning - rotation speed can be adjusted in increments of 0,1 seconds, giving clinicians an unprecedented degree of control over procedures. Variable scan speeds allow clinicians to image patients with a variety of heart rates, giving doctors more control to meet a specific clinical need.
  • Scans as fast as 0,4 seconds. Higher-speed scanning means clearer, sharper images with fewer motion artifacts.
  • Isotropic imaging with sub-millimeter (0,40mm) slice thickness

The LightSpeed VCT CT system is the fifth evolution of GE Healthcare's award-winning LightSpeed CT platform, the CT scanning system that revolutionized the industry in 1998. Originally developed in the 1970s, CT or "CAT" scans combine the power of X-ray technology and computers, allowing physicians the ability to view thin cross-sections of the internal anatomy without the need for exploratory surgery.

CT exams are used when people are ill or injured or when a physician suspects a medical problem that is not easily detectable from a conventional physical examination. The LightSpeed VCT CT system non-invasively assists physicians in the diagnosis of a variety of anatomical areas, such as the spine, head, abdomen and chest including detailed imaging of the heart.

The Radiology and Medical Imaging Department at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano has a staff of 62 and performs more than 18.000 CT exams and more than 100.000 total exams annually. Presbyterian Hospital of Plano is a growing, full-service facility with 231 private rooms and has been serving Plano, North Dallas and greater Collin County since 1991. More than 2000 physicians are in the Presbyterian Hospital of Plano network.

The LightSpeed Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) scanner from GE Healthcare allows clinicians to complete extremely fast exams while tailoring image quality, anatomic coverage and scan speeds to meet patient and application demands. The LightSpeed VCT system can deliver up to 73 percent more coverage per second of a given region of interest over previous CT technology. This system's speed dramatically reduces artifacts due to patient motion - either voluntary or involuntary, e.g., heart beats. This capability opens new diagnostic possibilities for the clinician. For example, a complete coronary angiogram can be acquired within five heartbeats, and physicians can quickly rule out - or in - the three life-threatening (aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, coronary artery disease) causes of ER chest pain in one non-invasive scan.

The system's speed also makes stroke work-ups more routine. Additionally, the LightSpeed VCT system achieves all this with a significant reduction in radiation to the patient by removing from the X-ray beam "scatter radiation" or electrons that do not contribute to the image itself. LightSpeed VCT's features also allow physicians to perform other studies more efficiently, including those for neurology, oncology, trauma and angiography. Along with new procedures, doctors have the flexibility to customize protocols for each unique patient, thereby enhancing productivity and image quality.

GE LightSpeed VCT was introduced in 2004 after intensive research into tube and detector technology. The innovations that grew from this research have revolutionized CT technology, and with it, the diagnostic possibilities it represents. LightSpeed VCT is the latest in the GE family of LightSpeed scanners. It demonstrates CT imaging quality in three dimensions; microVoxel imaging delivers routinely superior image quality in the axial, coronal and sagittal planes. This new frontier in imaging allows for superb sub-millimeter isotropic resolution that facilitates the imaging of small structures including small tortuous vessels, fine bony structures and coronary arteries.

GE's Six Sigma programme is integral to the development and rapid advancement of the LightSpeed family of scanners. Six Sigma helps the company manage complex technology, including R&D breakthroughs in materials science, computers, software, and electronics. The Design for Six Sigma programme enabled GE engineers and scientists to introduce five new advanced LightSpeed scanners in four years.

GE Healthcare is a $9 billion global expert in medial imaging, interventional procedures, health care services and information technology. Its offerings include networking and productivity tools, clinical information systems, patient monitoring systems, surgery and vascular imaging, conventional and digital X-ray, computed tomography, electron beam tomography, magnetic resonance, ultrasound and bone mineral densitometry, positron emission tomography, nuclear medicine, and a comprehensive portfolio of clinical and business services. For more than 100 years, health care providers worldwide have relied on GE Healthcare for high-quality medical technology and productivity solutions. More news on GE Healthcare can be found in the VMW March 2004 article GE Healthcare selects Questra to provide next-generation remote monitoring for medical instruments.


Leslie Versweyveld

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