Seeing more … faster

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

Only a few weeks ago, patients undergoing a computed tomography or &uot;cat scan&uot; at Natchez Community Hospital would have to lie perfectly still for up to 25 minutes as bursts of radiation created pictures of their internal systems.

But with the latest in breakthrough CT technology, radiologists can now do the same thing, only better, in less than 25 seconds.

With the purchase of the $800,000 HiSpeed NX/I multi-slice scanner, Natchez Community became the first facility in the Miss-Lou to offer the breakthrough scanning technology.

Director of Radiology Mike Cook said the new scanner produces clearer, more detailed images in a much shorter time, which can mean the difference between life and death for trauma patients.

And by scanning the body in a helical pattern rather than the axial pattern previously used, the higher resolution can detect abnormalities at a much earlier stage so they can be treated more effectively.

The benefits don’t end there.

Less time on the scanning bed means patients are exposed to less radiation. And a digital camera, also new, networked with the scanner, produces images immediately, eliminating the wait for developing.

&uot;You get so much more, so much faster,&uot; Cook said.

&uot;We’ve had CT scanners for years, but the helical technology is like the top of the CT technology and obviously that’s what we want.&uot;

Executive Director David Ainsworth said the hospital has been hoping to get the CT scanner for almost a year.

&uot;This is the latest technology,&uot; Ainsworth said. &uot;I’m glad our hospital was the one that was able to bring that technology to the Miss-Lou. &uot;The people in the community are the ones that will ultimately benefit from this.&uot;

In some cases, Cook said, the new scanner will eliminate the need for some pre-testing that was necessary with the old scanner. As hospital spokeswoman Kay Ketchings said, less testing means lower bills for patients.

&uot;You won’t find any better equipment at a bigger facility,&uot; she said.