Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing

New CT Scanner improves Imaging At Greater Speed, Lower Doses


A new, high-definition computerized tomography (CT) scanner capable of seeing internal structures in the human body as thin as a grain of sand is now in place at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and shows promise of setting the new standard for clarity in CT imaging.

Called the LightSpeed CT750 HD, the device has the potential to transform the way physicians diagnose and treat life-threatening diseases. The system detects small images with greater clarity (33 percent greater detail through the body than traditional scans and up to 47 percent greater detail in the heart) and is seen as a key enhancement in detecting potential medical problems.

The bottom line for patients is that not only does the scanner greatly improve the speed and quality of the images, the dose of radiation can be reduced up to 50 percent across the entire body and as much as 83 percent for cardiac scans.

The new LightSpeed scanner at Mayo is one of only two in use to date in the U.S.

The system, developed by GE Healthcare, uses a new scintillator (a substance that glows when hit by high-energy particles) design that was developed by changing the molecular structure of garnets, a group of minerals used as gemstones that are popular in jewelry-making. Using bright yellow garnets, engineers were able to develop a scintillator capable of delivering image data 100 times faster.

"This promising new scanner lets us look at an image in far greater detail and with significant radiation dose reduction, a combination that is a technological leap in enhancement of patient care," said Amy Hara, M.D., Diagnostic Radiology, Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Importantly, this more focused imaging will hopefully enable physicians to diagnose disease earlier and with greater accuracy."

One of the first Mayo patients to be evaluated by the new CT scanner (the week of July 21, 2008) had previously been recommended to undergo conventional coronary angiography (a more invasive procedure requiring sedation in which a catheter is inserted into the heart) to evaluate a suspected coronary artery blockage. Instead, he underwent a coronary artery CT angiogram on the new CT scanner and was able to avoid the more invasive coronary angiogram and sedation. Since that initial use of the new scanner, 30 patients were evaluated by the new high definition device in its first week of operation.

Copyright 2008- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved


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Editor-in Chief:
Kirsten Nicole

Editorial Staff:
Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Robyn Bowman
Kimberly McNabb
Lisa Gordon
Stephanie Robinson

Kirsten Nicole
Stan Kenyon
Liz Di Bernardo
Cris Lobato
Elisa Howard
Susan Cramer