New technology aids treatment of heart disease

Meadowview Regional Medical Center has installed the latest computed tomography (CT) imaging software, a 64-slice CT scanner.

This device produces precise diagnostic pictures within five to ten seconds, enabling one to "freeze" motion and better define certain disease processes.

For patients experiencing symptoms associated with heart disease, by using the ultrafast, 64-slice CT scanner and timing the scan to the patient’s heartbeat, physicians can image the heart and its blood vessels without blurring.

Then with advanced computer technology, the images can be reconstructed into 3-D views of the heart and the coronary arteries, showing narrowed areas of the blood vessels as well as early disease in vessel walls.

"By providing a non-invasive study that can quickly distinguish blocked from normal coronary arteries, we can determine who is or is not at high risk of having a heart attack," says John Faulkner, CEO of Meadowview Regional Medical Center.

The scanner will also be used for other important applications, such as identifying narrowed brain arteries that put patients at risk of having a stroke, and for evaluating blood flow in other organs such as the liver and kidney.

The new scanner is the GE Lightspeed, manufactured by GE Healthcare. Features include much faster image production, improved fine detail resolution, and improved post-processing to generate 3-dimensional images for treatment planning.