It is great healthcare news for residents of the Kootenay Boundary area, no matter how you slice it.
The Ministry of Health in partnership with the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Health District (RHD), has purchased a new state-of-the-art CT (computed tomography) scanner for Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH).
The new CT scanner is being delivered to the hospital’s imaging department this month, and is anticipated to be fully operational in January.
“Interior Health (IH) recognizes the importance in having the latest technology to support the services at our regional centre in Trail,” said Norman Embree, IH board chair.
“I’m pleased to see this important upgrade that will benefit patients from across the Kootenay Boundary.”
The older model CT machine, a 32-slice scanner, has required regular, ongoing maintenance and was unavailable while the repairs were being conducted.
The new scanner, a 64-slice GE Optima 660, has twice as many detector rows as the old unit.
The new machine can either scan the same region twice as quickly, or with more detail.
“It’s not a case of being more accurate – it’s like buying a camera with better quality lenses and higher mega pixel capability,” said Ingrid Hampf, acute services director for KBRH.
“It has the ability to provide better detail in certain CT examinations,” she added.
Another upgrade of the new model is the advanced software that improves the scan speed, which means a lower radiation dose delivered to the patient per scan.
Additionally, the scanner is designed with “green philosophy,” meaning it is built to have more recyclable components, and requires less power and cooling time than the older model.
With its energy saving mode activated during evenings and weekends, the Optima CT660 series scanner can reduce electricity consumption by 23,000 kWh or 45 per cent per machine per year, according to gehealthcare.com.
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By trading in the current unit, and taking advantage of other rebates, IH was able to secure a highly favourable, time sensitive price for the new unit for Trail, said the IH press release.
The RHD contributed $200,000 to the purchase with the Ministry of Health kicking in an additional $300,000 toward the $500,000 total cost of the scanner.
“Our contribution to this new CT scanner and other important capital projects and equipment show this Board’s commitment to all the residents we serve,” said Marguerite Rotvold, RHD board chair.
A CT performs cross-sectional views of all types of tissues. The scan is a preferred method used to diagnose various cancers and vascular diseases, and it clearly shows injuries of bone, muscle, and spine in highly detailed cross-sections. One of the most promising applications for this latest generation scanner is non-invasive assessment of coronary arteries.
“This is a great investment in patient care for the entire region,” said Hampf.
“It may reduce the need for patients to travel to a larger centre for post cancer treatment and complicated follow-up, by having the scan performed locally.”