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Speedy 3-D Scanner Praised by Doctors

It may look like a simple machine, but a new piece of equipment at Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center can create quick 3-D images that will not only make tests easier on patients but help doctors make better diagnoses.

About 25 patients a day are utilizing the $1.5-million Siemens “multi-slice” spiral CT scanner, which is used to detect cancer, tumors, kidney stones, abnormal bleeding and fractures, among other ailments.

In cases when it’s too risky to perform a conventional angiogram, the new scanner can be used to examine a person’s blood vessels, in effect creating a virtual angiogram.

Radiologists refer it to as a “multi-slice” scanner because of the thin vertical pictures it creates in much the way a loaf of bread is sliced.

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The hospital’s former scanner took one picture every three seconds. The new machine takes a picture in less than a second, creating images that are more vivid and detailed.

A complete head-to-toe scan of a 5-foot-10-inch person takes just 35 seconds, with the speed especially benefiting trauma patients.

A kidney stone screening that used to take two hours and involve X-ray dye now takes 25 seconds.

“We can generate 3-D images of any body part,” said Alberto Pernudi, administrative director of radiology, calling the data produced “remarkable.”

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By the end of the year, Glendale Memorial expects the public to be able to have lung or cardiac screenings on its new CT scanner without a doctor’s referral.

A lung screening, to detect early stages of lung cancer, will run $250 to $300. The cardiac screening, to find calcium buildup in the coronary arteries that could indicate future heart problems, will cost $350 to $400.

Glendale Memorial’s new scanner--the first at a San Fernando Valley hospital and one of only a handful in Southern California--will be competing for business from nearby Glendale Adventist Medical Center, which expects to have its own new multi-slice CT scanner operating by late July.

“When two community hospitals both get a spiral CT scanner, it clearly separates them out from the their competition,” said Dr. Harlan Gibbs, medical director of Glendale Adventist’s emergency department.

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“It takes the bar and puts it up a notch or two.”


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