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Clovis Community Medical Center will soon have the region’s first 128-slice CT scanner, which provides twice the imaging power at half the radiation. Community Medical Centers’ board approved the purchase at its July meeting.
The new CT, or computerized tomography, scanner is scheduled to be installed in November.
The few hospitals in the country that have such technology tout its ability to produce complete three-dimensional images of a beating heart within eight seconds, but Clovis chose it for other reasons, said Paul Yoshida, imaging manager at the hospital.
“We needed to update our technology and this offers better reliability,” Yoshida said. “But our main reason was to better serve our bariatric patients. This 128-slice CT scanner has the widest bore and the highest weight limit for the table so it accommodates our patients better.”
Just this week, national health care ratings agency HealthGrades once again named Clovis Community’s weight-loss surgery center among the top 5% in the nation for its bariatric surgery outcomes. This marks the third consecutive year Clovis Community has held that distinction.
Yoshida said he’s amazed at the speed available with this CT scanner, giving doctors images in half the time of older scanners while using special software that automatically reduces radiation to the lowest possible dose for patients.
Drs. Anthony Scuderi and Gary Kramer have been using this 128-slice scanner at Conemaugh Health System in central Pennsylvania. In a video on the hospital’s Web site, Dr. Scuderi called the images produced “spectacular,” and explained that its greatest benefit may be to heart patients.
Dr. Kramer elaborated, "Not only do we get a look at the vessels as you would normally picture a vessel, but we can look at it in any planes … We can see them three-dimensionally and rotate them in any direction…and depict it as it is in the body, and really be able to look at this from all sides and make the right diagnosis."
Acquiring that three-dimensional look of a heart produces 5,000 to 10,000 images that are compiled on a computer.
Computerized tomography (CT) takes a series of cross-sectional images one slice at a time in a full circle rotation. A computer then converts those X-rays into a picture. The 128-slice CT has been called revolutionary because it uses two sources instead of one to take the images, so it cuts the time in half. It can literally freeze a heart in motion so that patients undergoing cardiac scans no longer have to take beta blockers to slow down the heart’s motion.
This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.