Children's Hospital uses latest CT technology in ER for better diagnoses

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Brenner Children's Hospital is one of few children's hospitals in the United States using the latest computed tomography (CT) technology in an emergency setting – providing a more accurate diagnosis in a shorter period of time.

Pediatric radiologists at the hospital use 64-slice CT and both two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) images, according to Craig Barnes, M.D., a pediatric radiologist at the children's hospital. Barnes presented his experience with the technology at the American Roentgen Ray Society Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 1. Brenner Children's Hospital has used this technology in the emergency department since August of 2005.

"There are very few, if any, pediatric trauma centers in the United States that have both the 64 slice, multi-detector CT scanner and use the 2-D and 3-D images to evaluate pediatric trauma CT studies," Barnes said. "For many years physicians in the ED have used by default the same technology for both pediatric and adult patients, rather than selecting the most appropriate technology for the patient's age and condition." he said

"At Brenner Children's Hospital, we have four radiologists trained in pediatrics who are able to use the best technology in conjunction with their understanding of the pediatric patient to make an accurate diagnosis. Working with children is very different and requires specific knowledge, especially in a trauma situation where every moment counts."

Barnes and three other pediatric radiologists use these high-tech tools to give physicians a 360-degree view of the patient's body, helping pediatric surgeons and pediatric emergency room physicians make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. A 64-slice multi-detector CT takes X-ray images or measurements within seconds. Each image is called a "slice." The more slices taken, the more complete the picture.

"The more information we have the better," Barnes said. "For example, when I use traditional imaging, I can see that a child's spleen has been injured. When I use a 2-D or 3-D image of the injury, I can better locate the rupture and define how far and how wide the injury extends. These images aid our pediatric surgeons who may decide whether to perform surgery or monitor the patient closely. The ability to view the CT images in multiple planes is a superior and more complete method of evaluating pediatric trauma patients. This ultimately improves our ability to help the patient on their road to recovery."

The images that Barnes used in his presentation were taken from pediatric trauma cases in the children's hospital emergency department.

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Brenner Children's Hospital is part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Media Contacts: Rae Bush, rbush@wfubmc.edu, or Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, at 336-716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Wake Forest University Health Sciences and Brenner Children's Hospital. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, rehabilitation, psychiatry and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report. Brenner Children's was named one of the top children's hospitals in the nation by Child magazine.

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