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Aurora BayCare installs revolutionary CT imaging technology

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It’s changing how physicians diagnose heart disease, stroke and chest pain

Aurora BayCare Medical Center has installed the fastest, most powerful computed tomography (CT) system in the Green Bay area.

The LightSpeedâ VCT from GE Healthcare is a 64-slice imaging system that reduces the length of time it takes to complete a CT scan (or CAT scan) from several minutes to several seconds. It gives physicians an innovative way to obtain the information needed to diagnose disease and life-threatening illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and chest pain.

Aurora BayCare physicians are now able to capture images of a beating heart in five heartbeats, an organ in one second, and whole-body trauma in 10 seconds, significantly faster than conventional multi-slice CT scanners. Prior to the installation of this 64-slice unit, which creates 64 high-resolution anatomical images in a single rotation, the most powerful scanner available in Green Bay was a 40-slice unit.

“Fast scans can help reduce patient stress and anxiety,” said Dr. John Lee, a radiologist at Aurora BayCare. “The speed is especially helpful in shortening breath holds for geriatric patients, patients who are on ventilators, and pediatric patients.”

This revolutionary 64-slice technology is fast enough to capture images of the body’s rapidly moving organs like the heart and lungs, which appear blurry when scanned by traditional CTs. As a result, Aurora BayCare is able to offer the following innovative diagnostic procedures:

  • 5-Beat Cardiac(tm) – Captures images of the whole heart and coronary arteries in just five heartbeats, providing clear images of cardiovascular anatomy without the need for an invasive catheterization.
  • Triple RuleOut(tm) – Helps physicians rule out (or in) any of the three primary causes of mortality in patients with chest pain, which are aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism and coronary artery disease.
  • Stroke work-up – Provides the speed and resolution required for rapid imaging of blood vessels in the brain. Once a stroke occurs, timing is of the essence, and this enables physicians to make a quick diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment while reducing the number of exams a patient may need to undergo.

During a CT scan, a patient lies on a table and is slowly moved into the large donut-shaped opening of the scanner. Once inside, a series of X-ray beams create hundreds of cross-sectional pictures that represent slices of the patient’s body. Seconds later, the system’s computer assembles the slices into three-dimensional images that are interpreted by a radiologist (or in the case of a coronary CT scan, a credentialed cardiologist).

“We’re breaking barriers in speed and accuracy of patient exams, and getting clearer images of the anatomy, including the heart, than we’ve ever seen before,” said Dr. Francis Wolf, a cardiologist at Aurora BayCare. “We’re excited to be the first to offer this medical technology in Green Bay.”

Dr. Ricardo Vicuna, a colleague of Dr. Wolf’s at Aurora BayCare, is the only cardiologist in the area credentialed to interpret coronary CT scans.

Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a full-service tertiary care hospital located on Green Bay’s east side. It opened in September 2001 as a joint effort of Aurora Health Care and BayCare Clinic.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora has care sites in more than 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

BayCare Clinic facilities are staffed by nearly 100 physicians, surgeons and specialty providers representing the very best of 20 medical specialties. As northeastern Wisconsin’s largest independent physician-owned organization, BayCare is dedicated to providing patient choice and high-quality care.

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Contact: Mike Spofford (920-445-2165)

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