New multislice CT scanner speeds diagnosis and treatment

JULY 27--The University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore, MD; www.umm.edu/center/) has begun using a sophisticated new imaging tool called the multislice computed-tomography (CT) scanner, which speeds diagnosis and treatment of patients, including trauma patients with severe injuries.

Jul 27th, 2001

JULY 27--The University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore, MD; www.umm.edu/center/) has begun using a sophisticated new imaging tool called the multislice computed-tomography (CT) scanner, which speeds diagnosis and treatment of patients, including trauma patients with severe injuries. The multislice CT scanner provides clearer pictures with more detail in a lot less time than it takes for conventional spiral CT.

"The leap from spiral CT to the capabilities of the multislice CT is incredible," says Charles White, M.D., director of thoracic radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "With multislice CT we get more detail and images in less time," adds Dr. White, who is also professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We are currently using multislice CT to evaluate lung-cancer patients, detect blood clots in the pulmonary arteries, and locate aneurysms in blood vessels."

" In one to two minutes, we can scan the entire body of a trauma patient and see all the internal injuries," says Stuart Mirvis, M.D., director of trauma radiology at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. ."With this scanner, we can even see minute details such as the tiny bones in the inner ear."

The multislice CT scanner differs from the conventional spiral CT in the number of images or slices the scanner generates per second. As the x-ray source and detectors move around the patient, the newer multislice CT captures up to four slices simultaneously in 0.5 s compared to spiral CT, which captures one slice/s. With the multislice CT, patients do not have to hold their breath as long, and the technician uses less contrast material.

In the next few months, the multislice CT scanner will be even faster, with eight rows of detectors available, instead of four, says Dr. Mirvis. Even scanners with 16 and 32 rows are on the horizon. The greater number of rows allows the scanner to acquire more images per second. "The multislice CT has many potential uses and we have really only begun to scratch the surface," says Barry Daly, M.D., vice chair of research development in the Department of Radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We are now doing more angiograms using CT and do not always need to use the traditional method of inserting a catheter. A CT angiogram requires no sedation, takes less time, and is less expensive; it is beginning to replace the conventional method."

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