Lutheran Invests $5.8 Million to Bring Latest MRI and CT Technology to the Region
Patients to benefit from speed, safety and improved diagnostic imaging quality
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Thursday, May 10, 2012) – Lutheran Hospital announced today that it can now offer patients the latest MRI and CT technology available in the region and in the state. The advanced systems are designed to provide greater safety, more convenience and added comfort during diagnostic testing that involves computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. The radiology department at Lutheran began using the new Vantage Titan™ 3T MRI system and 320-slice Aquilion ONE CT system April 23 and 30.
Lutheran has invested $5.8 million to enhance its imaging capabilities through the addition of the new diagnostic equipment. An upgrade to an existing machine is also part of an initiative to provide the latest technology to northeastern Indiana while improving the patient’s experience during testing.
Lutheran Hospital has the region’s only 3T MRI system. It has twice the magnetic strength when compared to the common 1.5T MRI units. The increased magnet strength is used to significantly reduce exam times and/or to improve image quality. This can be especially useful for pediatric patients and adults with medical conditions that make it difficult to remain still for the entire scan.
With 90 percent less noise during testing, the new machine significantly improves patient comfort. Patients will still need ear protection, but sounds are greatly reduced, enabling them to relax and remain still with more ease.
The new machine is wider, which can help reduce anxiety. It has a larger but shorter bore, or tunnel, so patients no longer have to enter such a long tube. The opening of the bore is 71 cm, the largest available on the market, yet the length of the bore has been shortened to five-and-a-half feet. Another benefit of this new technology is that it may eliminate or reduce the amount of contrast, which is dye that is injected intravenously to improve the visibility of inflammation or differences in similar tissue like a dense joint or in the brain. The contrast dye is generally safe, but it contains an ingredient that can be taxing for the kidneys to process. Alleviating the need for contrast for some MRIs can be extremely helpful for patients with kidney problems. More specifically, contrast will no longer be necessary for some blood vessel MRIs, however, it will still be used for images of tumors or infections.
“Making the patient experience more pleasant is a priority,” said Tom Earnest, director of radiology, Lutheran Hospital. “Producing improved image quality in less time greatly benefits children and people who struggle with lying still, perhaps avoiding the need for sedation, repeat testing or less than optimal scans.”
Radiation exposure can be reduced 50 to 70 percent with the Aquilion ONE CT system. It is the only CT system able to image an entire organ, like the heart or brain, in a single X-ray rotation. The Aquilion ONE allows physicians to see organ function and how blood is flowing through and around an organ. It can also capture images of the body in motion to view movement of the spine, joints, vocal cords and lungs.
The new CT machine covers a field of view area much larger than a typical 64-slice CT machine. For example, the field coverage allows the whole heart to be imaged in a single rotation of the tube. The single rotation along with the latest dose-reduction technology brings the radiation dose down. Multiple rotations are required with other scanners. And, the new CT system can accommodate larger patients.
“As a regional hub for specialized care, Lutheran is committed to investing in advanced healthcare technology that allows us to expand our capabilities for patients living in this area,” said Brian Bauer, CEO, Lutheran Hospital. “The 320-slice CT equipment will excel particularly for heart and stroke diagnoses, enabling radiologists to possibly detect concerns sooner.”
A CT is a diagnostic imaging test that combines X-rays with computer technology.
An MRI is an exam that enables physicians to see inside the body without using X-rays. MRI creates images by using radio waves, a computer and a powerful magnet approximately 7,000-times stronger than the magnetic force of the earth.