Shelby Baptist has Alabama's First Definition Dual Source CT
The next generation of imaging technology now offered at Shelby Baptist Medical Center is faster, quieter, more comfortable and provides unsurpassed images, according to physicians. Or, in the enthusiastic words of one, "It's smokin'!"
Shelby BMC is the first hospital in Alabama to offer these advantages in computed tomography (CT) with the SOMATOM Definition Dual Source CT.
"When I entered radiology practice about seven years ago, the four-slice CT was state of the art and eventually there was a leap to the 64-slice," said Shelby radiologist Ben McDaniel, Jr., M.D. "With this next big leap to the Dual Source CT, we've got double the resolution, twice the speed and twice the power."
Award-winning design innovations that include two x-ray sources and two detectors permit simultaneous scans that acquire two different sets of data.
"The results are impressive," said Shelby interventional cardiologist Pierre Scalise, M.D. "We're at the forefront in terms of diagnosing coronary disease with a high degree of accuracy without an invasive catheterization procedure."
Shelby cardiologist John McBrayer, M.D., agreed. "The purpose of a CTA -- computed tomography (CT) angiography -- is to visualize coronary arteries without catheterization in a less traumatic procedure. This equipment's sensitivity and specificity make it an excellent tool for CTA."
The crisp, clear images of anatomical detail revealed by the dual imaging technology allow physicians to more fully distinguish artery plaque, an early indicator of heart disease. It also opens the door for more types of patients to its benefits.
Beta blocker medications slow heart rate and reduce the motion of the beating heart that can blur images, explained Dr. McDaniel. But these medications also affect breathing, making ineligible patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis and those with emphysema - a significant number in Alabama, he added.
Patients with elevated or irregular heart rates need beta blockers to reduce the heart rate before the exam. "That's no longer necessary with the Dual Source CT," said Dr. McDaniel. "In less than a heart beat, we can capture an image. Motion is no longer an issue."
And the diagnostic benefits of this new technology are not limited to images of the heart. Diagnosis in an acute care setting demands that every second count.
"In the ‘80s, a single slice picture of the brain took 4 - 5 minutes," said Dr. McDaniel. "With the Dual Source CT, we can do an image of the whole brain in just five seconds and the whole body in about half a minute. And the detail is incredible!"
The radiologist sees gains with the Dual Source CT's enhanced imaging for peripheral artery disease, carotid artery, cerebral vessels, tumors, lung perfusion, kidney stone characterization and visuals of cartilage, tendon and ligament.
The Dual Source CT's enlarged bore also accommodates another category of patient sometimes precluded from CT -- the tall or obese patient.
"We're certainly seeing more of these patients," said Dr. McBrayer. "Diagnostic imaging can be more difficult in patients who are morbidly obese, and this technology can help address that problem." Recognizing that every patient is unique in terms of size and weight, manufacturer Siemens' web site described the CT as accessible to patients up to 485 pounds or 79 inches tall.
"It's a race to keep pace with medical technology, and the expense is rising steadily," said Dr. McBrayer. "But it's critically important for us to evaluate and select the most worthwhile, reliable systems to provide our patients the best care possible.
"I think this technology reflects the depth of commitment by the hospital and Baptist Health System in making it available to patients at Shelby BMC and the community," said Dr. Scalise. "It continues a tradition of top notch cardiology care at Shelby and in making peoples' lives better."
Your contribution to Baptist Health Foundation can help assure that new medical technology continues to be available. Call the Foundation toll-free at 1-877-474-4243 to learn how you can help make lives better.