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Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Installs Revolutionary CT Imaging Technology

Photo Gallery From the New LightSpeed VCT

Higher-speed scanning translates to clearer, sharper images with fewer artifacts caused by patient movement or the motion of a beating heart.

The Medical Imaging Department has acquired a new, state-of-the-art, CT imaging system from GE Healthcare. The LightSpeed® VCT is the world’s first Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) system. We can now offer an innovative way for our physicians to obtain the information they need to diagnose disease and life threatening illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and chest pain.

What is a CT or CAT Scan?

Computed Tomography (CT) System, also know as a “CAT Scan” is a medical diagnostic tool that allows the visualization of internal structures within the human body. This aids physicians in diagnosing disease, viewing internal abnormalities and assessing the extent of trauma damage.

Our physicians are now able to capture images of a beating heart in five heartbeats, an organ in one second, and perform whole body trauma in ten seconds, more than twice as fast as conventional multi-slice CT scanners. This speed is especially helpful in shortening breath holds for geriatric patients, patients who are on ventilators and pediatric patients.

Patient Information Handout

During a typical CT procedure, the patient is placed on a table. The table then moves the patient through the gantry (a donut-shaped device), which houses an X-ray tube and detector array. For each image acquired, the X-ray tube rotates around the patient and the X-rays pass through the patient to the detector array, and thousands of X-ray measurements are acquired. The computer then processes this information and displays the corresponding images on a computer screen. This imaging technique avoids any superimposition of organs or tissues upon one another that might occur during other types of X-ray tomographic studies.

The CT exam creates images analogous to a single slice of bread from a whole loaf or a slice from an orange. Hence, the word ‘slice’ is often used to describe a view of patient anatomy. The quality of an image depends on the nature of the X-ray source and detectors, the number and speed of the measurements made, the details of the reconstruction technique (algorithm), the machine characteristics, and the methods of data display and interpretation. The computer allows healthcare professionals to shade, rotate, correlate and measure anatomy in the image. This data can be manipulated to derive even more precise clinical information. While conventional X-ray can discern tissue density difference of five percent, CT can distinguish a density difference of 1 percent or less, aiding in diagnostic confidence.

CT Scan Statistics

  • An estimated 100 million CT scans are performed annually around the world, including nearly 50 million in the United States.
  • More hospitals choose GE LightSpeed® multi-slice scanners than all competitive brands combined.
  • For the approximately 5 million individuals who present in the Emergency Department with chest pain each year, only a fraction are actually having a heart attack.
  • Since 1900, cardiovascular disease has been the number 1 killer in the United States every year but in 1918. Nearly 2,600 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 34 seconds.
  • In 2002, an estimated 6,813,000 inpatient cardiovascular operations and procedures were performed in the U.S.; 4.0 million were performed on males and 2.8 million were performed on females.
  • From 1979 – 2002, the number of cardiac catheterizations increased 389 percent.
  • And estimated 1,463,000 inpatient cardiac catheterizations were performed in 2002; Average length of a patient’s hospital stay is 3.6 days

The Volume CT system allows our physicians to perform new and enhanced procedures and obtain the information they need to diagnosis patients who are suffering from chest pain or stroke, and because it is patient friendly, the fast scans can help reduce patient stress and anxiety. Some of the volume CT procedures can be done in only one simple exam.

Innovative Procedures to be Performed on Our New LightSpeed VCT

5-Beat Cardiac™

Physicians can capture images of the whole heart and coronary arteries in just five heartbeats – providing clearer images of cardiovascular anatomy and a shorter breath hold for sick and elderly patients.

Triple RuleOut™

Three primary causes of mortality in patients with chest pain are aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism and coronary artery disease. Physicians now have a tool to help them rule out (or in) these three individual causes of patient’s chest pain through a single quick scan.

Stroke Work-Up

Once a stroke occurs, it is commonly believed that treatment must be delivered within an hour or less to ensure the best outcome for the patient. The LightSpeed VCT offers the speed and resolution required for rapid imaging of blood vessels in the brain. This enables physicians to make a quick diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment while reducing the number of exams a patient may need to undergo.

Other Typical LightSpeed VCT Procedures

  • CT colonography
  • Cardiac and coronary vessel analysis (5-Beat Cardiac™)
  • Coronary artery calcification scoring
  • Angiography studies
  • Trauma/emergency room/chest pain management (Triple RuleOut™)
  • Stroke workup
  • Oncology/cancer care
  • Pulmonary emboli
  • Inner ear ailments
  • Spinal injuries
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Pediatric assessment
  • Kidney exams
  • Liver exams
  • Lung exams

In a single rotation, the LightSpeed VCT creates 64 high-resolution anatomical images as thin as a credit card. These images are combined to form a three-dimensional view of the patient’s anatomy for the physicians to analyze. From these images, physicians can view such things as blockages in the coronary arteries, as well as the motion and pumping action of a patient’s heart.


 Patient Benefits

  • Diagnostic option for the workup of a cardiac patient
  • Faster patient exams – capture images of a beating heart in five heartbeats, a single organ in one second, and perform whole body trauma in ten seconds
  • Less time needed for breath holds, which can mean less stress for the patient
  • Automated dose reduction features
  • Easier access/wheelchair access to patient table – lower table height
  • Breathing lights help coach patients through breath holds – making it an easier exam

Physician Benefits

  • Full suite of applications to assist in examination of the head, abdomen, spine and chest
  • Xtream™ FX workflow platform allows the physician to review the case within five to ten minutes
  • The technologist performs the exam, allowing the Physician to interact with patient during the exam
  • Provide referring physicians with customized patient reports
  • Automatic reformatting of images to the clinical views needed to help the physician make the diagnosis
  • Scans as fast as 0.35 seconds per rotation. Variable speed capability as well. Higher-speed scanning translates to clearer, sharper images with fewer artifacts caused by patient movement or the motion of a beating heart