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.


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.”


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.


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