Low-radiation, high-tech CT scans offered at Northern Dutchess Hospital thanks to equipment upgrade

Posted: 1/29/2015

Thanks to a $1.1 million upgrade in imaging technology, when Northern Dutchess Hospital patients have a CT scan, they are exposed to significantly reduced levels of radiation and diagnosed using more detailed images taken in less time.

“Because of the CT scanner replacement, we can significantly reduce radiation exposure by about 60 percent and ensure patients are diagnosed using imaging techniques tailored specifically to each individual,” said Paul King, director of diagnostic services and medical imaging at Northern Dutchess. “This was an important investment for the hospital with direct impact on patient care and safety.”

CT scans are particularly useful in examining patients for a variety of conditions such as acute chest pain, abdominal pain and suspicion of stroke. Conventional scanning technology involves a targeted X-ray beam of ionizing radiation that passes through the body.

The new Siemens SOMATOM Definition AS rotates around the body with scan parameters that are tailored to body size, from infants to bariatric patients. A shield blocks unnecessary radiation and the X-ray beam is focused on only the necessary anatomy. The beam can be turned off whenever it’s in proximity to sensitive regions such as the eye lens, thalamus and breast tissue. 

“This is a feature only found on the SOMATOM and was a leading factor in our decision to purchase this scanner,” King said.

The SOMATOM uses 64 sensors, which rotate around the patient to obtain more anatomical detail. Previously, the hospital used a 16-slice scanner. 

Due to presets for specific imaging procedures and pre-filled syringes for intravenous contrast, the new machine is also more time effective. Physicians can now review results before the patient has left the table, allowing them to provide immediate feedback and quickly determine treatment options.

The patient table accommodates a heavier patient of up to 500 pounds and the machine can obtain a high image quality, even for patients who are obese, short of breath or have elevated heart rates.

“We can now complete CT scans faster than we previously could and with better image resolution.  This helps to improve image quality with more detailed imaging as well as improves patient comfort,” King said. 

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