Mayo Clinic first in the United States to scan with new computed tomography (CT) system


Open house Sept. 20-22 at new CT Clinical Innovation Center at Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Mayo Clinic is the first medical institution in the United States to use a new computed tomography (CT) system that produces images with greater speed and anatomic detail than current scanners. The scanner is expected to give physicians a tool to better visualize disease and perhaps reduce the need for more invasive diagnostic procedures.

The SOMATOM Sensation 64TM CT System, developed by Siemens Medical Solutions, was installed in mid-July at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and has imaged over 150 patients thus far. The system and its capabilities will be highlighted during an open house at Mayo Clinic's new CT Clinical Innovation Center on Sept. 20-22.

"That we are the first U.S. site to install this system continues our long history of innovation in CT, and we expect the system to allow us to take CT imaging to new levels of performance and clinical utility," says Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic radiologist. "With the new system, we can image incredibly small details in a matter of seconds, without having to make compromises in spatial resolution, scan time or image quality. There is a dramatic increase in the amount of information we can acquire from a single scan. Because of that, we expect more diagnostic questions to be answered than ever before."

Researchers at the CT Clinical Innovation Center at Mayo Clinic will look at the future role of the new technology in routine clinical work, and hope to advance patient care in areas such as trauma imaging, cardiovascular and neurological applications.

Joel Fletcher, M.D., CT Clinical Innovation Center radiologist, believes that further investigation into the new system's capabilities will reduce the need for some invasive procedures, and provide information on disease processes previously not available.

"Not only can we conduct exams in a shorter period of time, but we are able to obtain significantly more diagnostic information than with previous systems," says Dr. Fletcher. "Because of the vastly improved spatial resolution and speed, we can image smaller structures, construct the imaging planes that correspond to human anatomy rather than a CT gantry, and image dynamic processes not measured before. We are able to get to the heart of the medical matter quickly, effectively and in a noninvasive and painless procedure for the patient."

Mayo Clinic has a long history of finding new and innovative ways to integrate CTs into examinations of patients to better detect disease and help physicians care for patients. In 1973, Mayo was the first medical institution in the United States, and second in the world, to install a CT system. Physicians at Mayo Clinic were pioneers in CT imaging of the head and body, developing many CT imaging techniques that are now bread-and-butter diagnostic tools for 21stcentury medicine.

The new scanner is expected to produce sharper images with greater detail and image quality, especially in cardiac and neurological exams. The speed of the technology is better able to capture images of the heart, much like a faster shutter speed with a camera. In neurological cases, the bones of the skull can degrade the quality of the images, making scans difficult to analyze. This new system incorporates key technical advances that appear to overcome this limitation, producing images with amazing detail, Mayo physicians report. The new scanner also can image very large patients unable to be imaged previously, by using a newly designed X-ray tube and new ways of reconstructing CT images.

Mayo Clinic physicians expect that these advances will help them to better visualize coronary arteries, small tumors of the bladder or ureters, pulsation of aneurysms and vessels, the inner ear, and arteries and veins supplying blood to the extremities and organs. "It is hoped these images will produce much better data for estimating how mild or severe disease processes are," says Dr. Fletcher.

CT scan is an X-ray technique that produces more detailed images of the body's internal organs than a conventional X-ray examination. CT uses an X-ray-detector, which rotates around the patient's body, and a large computer to create cross-sectional images (like slices) of the inside of a patient's body. This helps the physician view organs and tissues noninvasively. Unlike earlier systems, the images produced by the Sensation 64 can be oriented in any way with the same degree of anatomic detail.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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