A new, state-of-the-art scanner in the UC
Department of Radiology will provide physicians with images of their
patients in detail not possible before.
And the speed at which the scanner works
allows it to gather high-resolution images faster than earlier
scanners, while providing a more accurate diagnosis.
The device, the 15th of its kind in the
United States when it was installed at UC and still the first in
Cincinnati, is a Somatom Sensation 64-slice CT (computerized
"Slice" refers to the way the scanner
makes images of a series of anatomical segments--similar to slicing a
loaf of bread. With its ability to take 64 images during each rotation
around the patient's body--compared with only one, four, eight or 16
images captured by current CT scanners--the 64-slice scanner delivers
much better definition.
Anything causing motion--including heart
beats or breathing--can result in a blurred image. By moving faster
than previous models, the new machine can adjust for heart
contractions, although breathing still affects image quality.
"With the 64-slice scanner, patients only
have to hold their breath for 8 to 12 seconds," says Cristopher Meyer,
MD, an associate professor of radiology at UC. "That's a considerable
improvement over earlier scanners that require patients to hold their
breath for 25 to 40 seconds.
"With this new technology we can scan the
entire chest in 10 seconds, which means our patients will get treated
faster," he says.
This has an advantage for scheduling, Dr. Meyer adds.
"Patients may walk in to schedule an
appointment and we can take them directly back to the 64-slice
scanner," he says. "Their scan is completed in a single held breath,
and they can get on with their day. Without blurred images, we can
provide faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations."
CT scanning works by capturing a series
of pictures of the body after injection of a contrast medium. The
quicker the scanner, the lower the amount of contrast medium necessary,
making it easier for the kidneys to filter. At the same time, more
images can be gathered at once. This allows for whole organs or much
larger sections of the body to be imaged, resulting in more accurate
UC is using the 64-slice scanner for
routine imaging. The real advantage, however, says Dr. Meyer, is in its
current application in heart imaging, virtual colonoscopy, virtual
bronchoscopy and neurovascular imaging.
The scanner will also be a key research
tool. UC surgeon Randall Wolf, MD, for example, inventor of the
"minimaze" procedure to treat atrial fibrillation, uses it to screen
patients for coronary artery disease while simultaneously gathering
data about the left atrial heart chamber prior to the innovative
The 64-slice CT scanner is located at University Radiology Associates Inc., in the Medical Arts Building at 222 Piedmont Ave.