BRH brings in new CT scanners

Devices should provide faster, higher quality images

Bartlett Regional Hospital received two new CT scanners that became fully operational last month.

BRH Diagnostic Imaging Director Robyn Free said the Siemens Computerized Tomography (CT) scanners offer faster, higher quality images than the 7-year-old Philips scanner they replaced. Seven to 10 years is a normal lifespan for a scanner, she said.

“We are really on the cutting edge,” Free said. “The 128 (slice Siemens Somatom Definition AS+ scanner) is the only one of its kind in Alaska.”

She noted that BRH is the only medical center in Juneau with a CT scanner, which became problematic when the Philips scanner was on the fritz. It had broken down for a few days before she joined the hospital staff a year ago.

“Before we had the only scanner in Juneau, and if it went down, you had to go out of town, which is an undertaking,” she said.

The 128 slice Siemens Somatom Definition AS+ and Siemens Somatom Emotion 16 slice CT scanners were purchased for about $1.2 million. An old filing room had to be refurbished to accommodate housing one of the scanners, and the old scanner room was updated for the new technology, adding on construction and renovation costs. The entire project totalled about $1.7 million.

It was paid for in part by a $471,240 federal grant from Health Resources and Services Administration. The hospital paid for the rest.

CT Scan Technologist Al Lodovici said the new machines will emit up to 35 percent less radiation than the old scanners.

“That’s the main objective (of these scanners),” Lodovici said.

Both machines are capable of greater detail in all types of scans and offer greater weight capacity on their patient tables, according to a statement from BRH media liaison Jim Strader. Both machines are fully capable of all standard exams ordered by providers as well as 3-D reconstruction for any study performed.

The 128 slice scanner can offer even greater detail and speed necessary for certain types of cardiac scans, brain perfusion scanning and CT fluoroscopy, an imaging technique for real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient.

The Siemens company, which provides technology to health care providers, sent an instructor down to teach the five CT Scanner technologists at BRH how to use the equipment after they were installed in August and mid-September. That training wrapped up last month.

About six to eight people in Juneau are scheduled to receive a CT scan each day, Free said. That number does not include patients from the emergency room or inpatients.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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