By Marcy Rushford

I am pleased to announce that Brattleboro Memorial Hospital has completed installation of a new, technically advanced 64-multislice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner. The new technology ensures quality diagnostics, improved speed of delivery and optimized patient safety (less radiation) for our patients.

Marcy Rushford

CT scanning represented one of the biggest jumps forward in radiologic technology when it was developed some 40 years ago. The images are produced in slices, like a loaf of bread, to give medical providers a cross-section of the area of the body being examined. The latest upgrade to our technology at BMH enables us to take a 64-slice image, where previously the maximum was 16, improving diagnostic quality. The image is also generated in significantly less time and with about half (in some cases, even less) the amount of radiation exposure. All of these reductions in time and risk add up to faster and safer imaging services for patients.

Today, CT scanning is the standard of care after vehicle crashes, winter sports accidents, falling down the stairs or any other number of ways a patient may incur a traumatic injury to the body. The speed with which it creates an image makes it effective in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. It is also used frequently to take images of extremities with 3D rendering for orthopedic surgeons, as well as images of the abdominal area when evaluating for acute conditions like kidney stones, pancreatitis, appendicitis or other causes of pain and discomfort.

One of the services improved with this latest technology is CT-guided biopsy. CT scans are already used to evaluate possible cancers and other abnormalities within the body. The fluoroscopy attachment that comes with this new machine creates a three-dimensional visualization of a lesion. This helps the physician determine the best direction from which to approach it, making biopsy safer and quicker for the patient. The accuracy and speed of scanning keeps patient exposure to the radiation at a minimum.

While this upgrade enables us to provide more treatment options right here in the community, we have also joined with other hospitals across the state of Vermont and New Hampshire to ensure that the protocols we use when performing CT scans are aligned with those used at tertiary care (trauma) centers and that images can be transferred electronically to those centers. So, if patients have to be transported because of the nature of their injury or illness, we can better share the imaging we’ve already done with their surgeons and specialists, and in an expedited fashion. It also ensures that patients do not undergo duplicate imaging, which impact and increase overall health care costs. BMH is proud to be part of this collaborative effort to make getting care faster and more efficient in these emergency situations where every second matters for the patient.

The Diagnostic Imaging Department invites the public to an open house on Wednesday, February 6th, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Richards Building. The open house will include the opportunity to see the new state-of-the-art CT and MRI equipment.

Marcy Rushford, CRA, MBA, RDMS, RT(R,M) is the Director of the Radiology and Cardiology Unit at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

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