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Hospital’s new CT scanner getting workout PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 03 December 2015 00:00

By Russ Pankonin

The Wauneta Breeze


When talking about a house being five years old, it doesn’t seem that old. But in the world of medical technology, the end-of-life cycle for some equipment occurs at a breakneck pace.

The CT scanner represents just one of those pieces of equipment. The five-year-old CT scanner just removed from the Chase County Community Hospital has been surpassed by new innovations and software for x-ray imaging.

That’s why the hospital leasses the machine versus buying it. This week, the hospital board executed the lease on a brand new Siemens state-of-the-art CT scanner that was installed in mid-November.

CT stands for computed tomography. The machine utilizes x-ray technology to obtain the scans.

Since its installation, the medical and radiology staff have been keeping the machine busy.

In the first week, the radiology staff completed 20 scans. Just this weekend alone, the department performed seven CT scans. Normally they average about two scans per day.

The new machine is operated by the trio of radiology technologists in the department—Kara Horton, Kelli Tjaden and Stacy Liebhart. All three are board-certified in CT operation.


Improvements: faster, better

The technologists said the new scanner brings a number of benefits that lead to abetter patient comfort and overall experience.

First, the new scanner is much faster than the previous scanner.

During scans of the chest or abdomen, patients need to hold their breath so there is as little movement as possible. Previously, a patient had to hold their breath for 40 seconds. That duration has now been reduced to 12 seconds.

Secondly, the resolution of the new scanner is much higher, resulting in more detailed scans.

The resolution of a CT scanner is measured in slices. A higher number of slices results in a higher resolution scan with much more detail.

The previous scanner measured at 12 slices. The new scanner scans at 64 slices. Tjaden said the quality of the imagery is much improved over the previous scanner. She noted the software has improved, as well.

Perhaps the most notable improvement of the new scanner comes in the form of a lower dose of radiation for the patient.

The new scanner emits up to half the amount of radiation of the previous scanner, which represents a major advantage for patients.

Tjaden said the scanner creates a three-dimensional image that can be rotated in any direction to pinpoint any specific area in the scan.

For example, she said they can omit all bone structure to reveal just the vascular system, and vice-versa.

Once the scans are completed at CCCH, they are transmitted to radiologists in North Platte who read them.