February 15, 2007
New Dual Source CT Scanner
can freeze-frame a beating heart
Marquette General’s newest CT enhances cardiac and trauma
A patient arrives in the Emergency Department
at Marquette General with chest pain. It could be a heart attack;
but chest pain can also be caused by a pulmonary embolism (blood
clot in the lung), a tear in the aorta, or any of several other
With the arrival of the new Dual Source CT scanner, radiologists
and cardiologists are able to acquire more than 6,000 images of
the heart in ten seconds, and quickly exclude a number of possibilities.
The two new workstations needed to composite the individual images
are so powerful they allow the radiologist to view the results
before the patient leaves the exam table. According to Radiologist
Min, the Dual Source is faster and more accurate than any
other CT on the market.
new Dual Source CT scanner at Marquette General Hospital is
located directly below the Emergency Department. The new scanner’s
location and its ability to acquire 5000-6000 images within
ten seconds are distinct advantages for treating heart attack
and trauma patients.
“If you have someone with a very fast heart rate,”
said Min, “you can acquire the scan so rapidly it makes
the heart rate irrelevant. The Dual Source allows us to render
the heart motionless to the camera’s eye; in essence we’re
freeze-framing a beating heart.
“Because of that, we have unprecedented accuracy compared
to every other technology that’s out there,” Min said.
For some patients with chest pain, the cardiac CT can eliminate
the need for a diagnostic cath lab procedure.
“This is a completely new generation of scanner. It’s
more of a revolution than an evolution in CT technology”
said Imaging Program Director Dean Jackson. “The use of
two x-ray sources and two detectors not only cuts the time to
obtain a scan, but also yields extremely high-quality 3-D images.
“What’s particularly exciting is the way this scanner
fits into the existing capabilities at Marquette General,”
Min said. “When you add this CT to the expertise and capabilities
of a 100 Top Cardiovascular Hospital and a Level II Trauma Center,
the advantages to patients are significant.”
Beyond the advantages for cardiac and trauma patients, the new
CT also has a wide range of other applications including the imaging
of complex vascular cases that would otherwise be impossible.
The technology allows bone and other structures to be eliminated
with the click of a mouse button.
In the context of a 100 Top
Cardiovascular Hospital and Level II Trauma Center, the
expertise of physicians in interpreting and selectively
deleting portions of the anatomy make the new Dual Source
CT scanner at Marquette General a powerful tool for rapid
diagnostics. (Siemens image)
In addition, for patients who are overweight or obese, the size
of a traditional scanner may not have been a comfortable fit.
The Dual Source scanner has the appropriate capacity and power
to provide richly detailed images for this special population
Located immediately below the Marquette General Emergency Department,
the new CT acquires images twice as fast as any existing CT scanner,
using half the radiation. Its close proximity to the E.D. allows
patients to be moved to the scanner in only two minutes’
time. No other hospital in Michigan offers patients the speed
and safety of having the Dual Source CT in the immediate vicinity
of the Emergency Department.
“On the one hand, the speed of this new scanner is beyond
anything I’ve ever seen,” said Jackson. “But
this new CT is so much more than a piece of equipment. It’s
the environment of specialists that surrounds the technology;
people who can apply what they see and provide appropriate treatment
right here at the hospital.
“When a cardiologist and a radiologist collaborate to review
the images, their combined wisdom is an added bonus for the patient,”
“For the patient who comes into the Emergency Department
with chest pain that isn’t an obvious heart attack,”
said Min, “the new CT will tell the radiologist the top
three things that will treat that patient. It represents a truly
remarkable advance in the way we diagnose chest pain.”
The acquisition of the Siemens Definition Dual Source CT places
Marquette General’s CT imaging capabilities on par with
facilities such as the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, New York
University Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center and Johns Hopkins.