Shands at UF installs Florida’s first 320-slice CT scanner

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GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Shands at the University of Florida has installed the state’s first 320-detector row CT scanner. This $2.5-million diagnostic tool has the potential to detect stroke and heart disease in a matter of minutes and replace dozens of other tests, which can take hours and days.

Unlike any other CT system, the Aquilion ONE uses 320-detector rows capable of covering 16 centimeters, about 6 inches, of one’s anatomy. It scans an entire organ in a single pass and produces not only 3-D images but also 4-D videos that show an organ’s structure, movement and blood flow.

“We’re one of the first teaching hospitals in the world to have this level of advanced imaging,” said Dr. Anthony Mancuso, UF College of Medicine neuroradiologist and chair of radiology.

“The detector system is so wide and rotates so fast that it is able to collect the information over a targeted area, quite literally, in a heartbeat. This technology is near-revolutionary. No other manufacturer has reached this level of CT imaging,” Mancuso said.

Dr. Michael Waters, UF neurologist and Shands at UF Stroke Program director, said with this technology they are able to observe the vessels and flow dynamics of the brain to quickly assess a patient’s risk of stroke “when time is brain.”

“The 320-detector row CT scanner enables us to diagnose a stroke much more quickly because it replaces multiple imaging tests, and the scan time is extremely fast,” Waters said. “We can precisely determine the at-risk brain tissue and the location of the blockage and begin appropriate treatment.”

UF cardiologists and radiologists said the scanner will provide more rapid assessment of the heart. It also has the potential to replace the need for diagnostic angiography in a number of intermediate-risk patients, particularly those who are brought to the Emergency Department.

“We expect the unit will help us to be more efficient and reduce the time it takes to evaluate patients with chest pain and identify those with life-threatening coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Joel Moll, UF emergency medicine physician and director of the Shands at UF Emergency Department. “It will help us to determine if a cardiac catheterization is needed, if surgery is indicated, if we should admit the patient or if they can be safely discharged home. This technology should result in a savings of time and money.”

The Aquilion ONE will benefit many other services at Shands at UF, including cancer and transplant programs.

Shands at UF is the first academic medical center in the Southeast to install an Aquilion ONE dynamic volume CT system. Mancuso and other members of the UF Department of Radiology began working with Toshiba, the manufacturer of the Aquilion ONE, three years ago. Through a cooperative relationship, they are identifying the value and limitations of this technology and what other diagnostic imaging tests may be replaced.

“We also will examine the economic impact of this multi-million dollar investment,” Mancuso said. “We’ll be collecting financial data to document savings. We anticipate that this single test will replace several others and diminish the time and related costs necessary to reach accurate diagnosis and treatment end point.”