Some new technology at Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services is cutting down time while also provided more detail on certain procedures.
Jodi Dannar, directory of radiology at the hospital, explained the old CT scanner was a 16-slice model, and the new one is a 128-slice design.
“What that means,” she said, “is that every time the tube rotates, it used to take 16 pictures. Now it takes 128, so we’ve cut our scan time drastically. An abdomen [scan] that used to take minutes to do now takes 30 seconds. “It’s a lot faster, a lot more comfortable for the patients. They aren’t laying on the bed forever.”
When CT scans are performed, its required patients remain completely until the scan is complete. The drop in time for the scans is also beneficial for children, Dannar said, and other patients who are un-cooperative and wanting to move around.
The increase in the number of slices not only helps by allowing shorter scans, but these scans provide more, sharper detail.
“We’re also able to do new scans with this system,” Dannar said. “We can do a lot more with orthopedics, as far as three-dimensional imaging.”
The Chadron hospital has also started working with Swedish Medical Center in Denver, she noted, for brain injury and stroke patients. The new machine allows brain scans to be done here and forwarded to Swedish, so the Denver hospital has them before the patients arrive.
Profusion tests are also a new capability, Dannar said, explaining these tests show blood flow out to different parts of the brain. The hospital can also do imaging of carotid arteries — which are the main arteries that feed the brain — to look for any blockages and other problems.
Calcium scoring is yet another new procedure available. Dannar said this used to be known as hardening of the arteries, and looks for the starting of calcium in the heart.
Funding for the new CT scanner was provided through COVID-19 emergency funding. Because of the diseases, Dannar said, there was a large increase in “CTPEs” looking for pulmonary emboli in lungs. “COVID caused a lot more blood clots in lungs,” Dannar said, “so we did a lot more of those exams. CT scanners was one of the things they found COVID funding could be used for.”
Though the number of CTPE scans has gone down, Dannar said they still do about 15 per month. The department also sees a lot of trauma scans. “We can do heads, spines, abdomens, pelvises, chests, all kinds of orthopedic,” Dannar said.