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Atlantic General Hospital Introduces Latest Advances in Imaging Technology

Atlantic General Hospital is keeping pace with changes in healthcare, as the latest medical and technological advances have made surgical incisions ever smaller, diagnostics speedier, and recovery times shorter.

Next month, some of those advances are being installed in Atlantic General’s Imaging Department.

On February 5, Imaging will begin the process of replacing its existing CT technology with the state-of-the-art LightSpeed Volume Computed Tomography (VCT) System, by GE Healthcare. The VCT system will allow Atlantic General Hospital’s physicians to capture images of a beating heart in five heartbeats and an organ in one second – twice as fast as conventional multi-slice CT scanners.

The continuum of care for the emergency department and inpatients will be preserved during the replacement process by installing the current CT scanner in a temporary mobile unit next to the hospital. But the growing pains mean that Atlantic General Hospital will be one of the first to offer this type of technology on the Shore.

“This new system will enable our physicians to perform new, enhanced procedures and obtain the information they need to help diagnose patients who are suffering from symptoms of chest pain or stroke,” said Bob Abbott, director of the Imaging Department. “And, Volume CT is patient friendly. Fast scans can help reduce patient stress and anxiety, and some of the volume procedures can be done with reduced scanning time.”

The speed and resolution of this technology allow AGH to perform the following innovative procedures, among others:

5-Beat Cardiac: Physicians can capture images of the whole heart and coronary arteries in just five heartbeats – providing clearer images of cardiovascular anatomy and a shorter breath hold for sick and elderly patients.

Triple RuleOut: Three main causes of death in patients with chest pain are aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, and coronary artery disease. Atlantic General Hospital’s physicians now have a tool to help them to identify or rule out these three individual causes of a patient’s chest pain through a single quick scan.

Stroke Work-Up: Once a stroke occurs, treatment should be delivered in an hour or less to insure the best outcome for the patient. The LightSpeed Volume CT offers the speed and resolution required for rapid imaging of blood vessels in the brain. 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.

How it Works
In a single rotation, the LightSpeed VCT creates 32 high-clarity images as thin as a credit card. These images are combined to form a 3-D view, commonly known as a CAT scan, of the patient’s anatomy for a physician to analyze. From these images, physicians can view such things as blockages in the coronary arteries, as well as the motion and pumping action of the heart.

Other Recent Additions
In addition to the new CT technology, Atlantic General’s full-service imaging department has already acquired three new state-of-the-art ultrasound machines and a new echocardiography machine. The advanced ultrasound technology allows for more timely studies and a shorter scanning time, which is more comfortable for patients. And all the new equipment is fully integrated with the PACS computer system, giving hospital physicians and clinicians as well as participating healthcare provider offices immediate electronic access to patient images.

About Atlantic General Hospital Imaging
Atlantic General Hospital’s Imaging Department became full service with the addition of MRI to its line of general diagnostic imaging, CT scans, ultrasound and nuclear imaging services in 2003. In November 2006, the department converted from printed films to electronic imaging and storage of records, which gives healthcare providers instant access to patient images and results. For more information about the services provided by the Imaging Department, visit the Centers of Excellence section of the Atlantic General Hospital’s website at