A leading-edge CT scanner, a first for Africa and one of only a few of its kind worldwide, was launched in the Helderberg this week.

The new CT scanning unit provides a non-invasive imaging alternative to certain traditional examinations.  It is capable of routine CT scanning as well as advanced solutions for diagnostic imaging and evaluation in a large number of clinical uses such as cardiac, oncology, neuro and acute care.

The key differentiating factor is the use of two X-ray sources and two detectors at the same time.  This ensures double the speed at twice the power, with double the resolution outcome.  At the same time, and perhaps most significantly, the radiation dose to the patient is substantially lower.

The new system reduces the X-ray dose to patients by up 68%.  At the same time it also prevents direct X-ray exposure to doctors during CT interventions.

"The Dual Source CT scanner is literally faster than a heart beat," explains Dr Gerrit van Wageningen, radiologist at the practice.

"Up until now, cardiac imaging was only successful if the patient's heart rate was adequately low and stable," Dr Van Wageningen says.  "This new technology enables us to perform reliable cardiac imaging independent of heart rate, and without the use of beta blocker medication which is normally used to slow down the heart rate artificially.

The double source of X-rays ensures fast cardiac acquisition within the shortest breath-hold, which makes it ideal for the scanning of arrhythmic patients.

"Another important application of the Dual Source CT scanner is the one-stop diagnosis it offers in acute care," says Dr Van Wageningen.  "For instance, in the event of stroke assessment, where every second counts, stroke evaluation turns data into a diagnostic outcome within minutes, enabling a speedy and more efficient treatment plan," he says.

The speed and power of the Dual Source CT scanner enables optimum scanning of trauma patients, uncooperative patients, patients short of breath or obese patients who would find traditional CT scanning problematic.  Dr Van Wageningen also mentions that the speed of this technology ensures no more impact on the quality of the scan due to possible patient motion or breathing.

The enhanced definition allows for capabilities not previously available from other types of scanning technology.  These capabilities include scanning with two different X-ray energies simultaneously, allowing physicians to better differentiate, isolate and distinguish bone, soft tissue and fluid.

"The system even allows for patients who are constrained by medical devices such as neck braces, casts, and other medical support equipment," Dr Van Wageningen explains.

"The implications for speedy diagnostics and treatment planning are huge," he says.  We're ecstatic to have this technology available here in the Helderberg.  It will certainly enhance our offering to our patients, ensuring timeous diagnosis and quicker treatment planning" he concludes.

The Dual Source CT scanner is manufactured by Siemens Medical Solutions in Germany.