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NARH invests in low-dose CT scanning technology
Dec 21, 2012

(Dec. 21, 2012) North Adams Regional Hospital has invested in new imaging technology that may reduce radiation exposure during CT (computed tomography) scans by an average of more than 50%. The state-of-the-art software and hardware upgrade, called iDose, results in continued high quality images produced with much lower exposure. Cumulative radiation exposure, which can come from a variety of sources, including some medical imaging, may increase the risk of cancer of the course of a lifetime. This makes reducing dose particularly beneficial to younger patients and for those requiring multiple CT scans.
 
“This new technology is a significant advance for our patients,” said Jeffrey Bath, MD, Chief of Medical Imaging at NARH. “CT scans are an invaluable medical tool to quickly provide diagnostic information about a body part of interest, but the major drawback has always been radiation exposure. iDose uses sophisticated software to constantly modulate and minimize the dose depending on tissue density.”
 
NARH upgraded to iDose in early November.
 
Dr. Bath said iDose is already making a difference. “We’ve looked at the new procedure compared to old studies on the same patient and found that we were able to routinely reduce doses by at least 50%. At the extreme, we saw a reduction of nearly 81%. That won’t be true all the time, but we’re very excited to see this.”
 
Comparisons of the same procedure conducted on the same patients showed dose reductions that averaged 65%, according to Lisa Harrison, Director of Medical Imaging at NARH.
 
“Patients won’t notice any change in how the exam is performed or the length of the scan,” said Harrison. “It’s still a very quick, painless scan that provides excellent images that can help doctors diagnose a host of conditions.”
 
NARH performed more than 5,800 CT scans last year with its state-of-the-art Philips “Brilliance” scanner. The scanner uses 64-detector technology to capture high-resolution images of the body’s organs like the brain and lungs within seconds. Multi-detector imaging, because of its speed, also is especially useful for examining patients who are unable to hold their breath, like trauma victims, acutely ill patients, and young children.
CT scanning is distinguished from traditional X-ray by its ability to display a detailed combination of soft tissue (like muscles, blood vessels and organs), fat and bone.
 
Radiologists interpret CT scans ordered by a patient’s healthcare provider to diagnose a wide range of conditions, involving multiple organ systems, from blood clots, infections and hemorrhages, to tumors, fractures and congenital abnormalities.
 
During a CT exam, after appropriate preparation, the patient lies on a table and is effortlessly passed though the large donut-shaped opening of the scanner. During the actual exam, often only a matter seconds, a series of X-ray beams create hundreds of cross-sections that represent data from the patient’s body. Seconds later, the system’s computer assembles the data into multi-dimensional images that are interpreted by a radiologist. The examinations are all interpreted the same day, with immediately available radiologist reports for the ordering clinicians.


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