Healthcare Industry News:  cardiac imaging 

Devices Radiology Cardiology

 News Release - September 27, 2006

MUSC Launches World's First Dual Source Heart CT Scanner

CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 27 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has become the only hospital in the South, and one of only five hospitals in the country, to launch the latest technology for scanning the heart to detect the subtlest of trouble spots.

On Oct. 9, MUSC will begin operating the dual source CT scanner developed by Siemens Medical. It will enable radiologists to perform noninvasive tests on patients showing signs of cardiac illness much more quickly and less costly than other methods.

The dual source CT is a significant enhancement over the "64-slice" CT technology. The dual source CT reduces radiation by 50 percent compared to the 64 slice CT. Beta blockers, which are needed to slow the heart rate, will not be required in most patients, said U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D., director of MUSC's CT research and development.

MUSC is considered among the world's top institutions for cardiac imaging as studies are interpreted by internationally renowned radiologists and cardiologists. This new technology represents a $2.2-million investment by MUSC. "The schedule for patients seeking to use it already is booked for two weeks into October," said Philip Costello, M.D., chairman of MUSC's Department of Radiology. Costello said he expects to scan at least 20 patients a day with the dual source CT.

The technology is especially useful in detecting cardiac illness in women, Schoepf said, considering that women show very misleading and subtle signs of heart disease.

"The dual source CT would help us assess a patient for heart disease when an EKG or nuclear test has not revealed any problems," Schoepf said.

Unlike the nuclear tests, in which radioactive material is injected into a patient to detect the functional image of the heart, the dual source CT uses x-rays that actually freeze the image of heart and vascular system. This enables radiologists to see from the inside exactly where the trouble is.

"It's like a fast shutter speed on a camera," Schoepf said. "We're able to double the ability to freeze the image of the entire heart and cut in half the time needed to do it."

Source: Medical University of South Carolina

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