The $1.6 Million GE 64-slice Scanner significantly increases the speed, efficiency, and information-gathering capability of the CAT Scan procedure, which is used to screen patients for cancer, among other diseases, and to examine everything from vital organs to bone structure and blood vessels.
“Its one of the latest technologies as far as Cat Scans are concerned,” said Emil Sudlow, the Radiology Department’s Cat Scan supervisor. “It’s a pretty big step. It’s a lot more sensitive to things you would probably miss or that would require a more invasive procedure.”
The new machine, which will not replace the hospital’s two 16-slice scanners, produces four times as many high-resolution images, or slices, said Sudlow, in less time and using a smaller dose of radiation. “It’s like cutting through a loaf of bread,” Sudlow explained. “The thinner your slices are the easier it is to see what’s between those slices.”
After the slices are captured they are computerized at a nearby workstation and transformed into 3-D images that have impressed hospital radiologists with their accuracy and detail.
“It’s a very good scanner,” said Dr. Joel Mollin, an attending radiologist. “I’m very impressed with the way it’s working.”
Dr. Mazullah Kamran, the hospital’s associate chief of Cardiology, said one of the machine’s main purposes would be to take cardiac images in order to identify and diagnose anomalies in core arteries around the heart.
To capture images of the heart using the older machines, patients have to hold their breath while lying flat on their backs for as long as half a minute, said Kamran. The new machines have cut that time by as much as half, in some cases, a crucial difference for Queens patients who are undergoing the procedure with greater frequency in recent years.
“Since 2004 we’ve doubled our number of CAT scan studies,” said George Leconte, the hospital’s administrator for Ancillary Services. Leconte, who worked closely with Sears to obtain the new machine, praised the councilwoman’s dedication to health care improvement.
“Helen Sears has been a fantastic supporter of Elmhurst Hospital,” said Leconte.
The 64-slice scanner has been in operation in the hospital’s ground floor radiology department for the past two months. The average patient cost to be screened by the new machine in hospitals around the country ranges from $600 to $1,000, said Dr. Kamran. Its is not yet known how expensive the average scan at Elmhurst will be, Kamran said.
The official unveiling of the 64-slice scanner on Thursday was the culmination of a two-year drive by Sears, who first applied to the city to include the item in the capital budget in 2006.
“Health care changes all the time, technology changes all the time, and it’s important that hospitals keep that up,” said Sears after the ribbon cutting. Elmhurst Hospital patients “need state of the art equipment,” Sears said. “The people who come here, from all walks of life, deserve the highest quality care.”