Computed tomography (CT), sometimes called "CAT "scan, is a test offered by Pensacola Radiology Consultants utilizing the latest CT multidetector scanners from GE and Siemens.
Sir Godfrey Hounsfield (Noble prize 1979), an electrical engineer, began seminal work on image reconstruction in 1968. His work pioneered the concept of looking at the body in a series of x-ray slices. A prototype scanner was developed and installed in the Atkinson-Morley Hospital, Wimbledon, England on October 1, 1971. The first patient was a 41 year old female with a suspected left frontal lobe brain tumor. The scan and subsequent computer processing took two days but it did clearly show the tumor. Today, images are available for interpretation by the radiologist within seconds of scanning.
A CT Scan utilizes special x-ray equipment to obtain thin slices of tissue from different angles around the body. A computer then reconstructs these data points into 2D/3D images that can be interpreted by the radiologist. CT imaging is particularly useful because it can show several types of tissue with great clarity, including organs such as the lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. CT scans are frequently performed with intravenous contrast to show the radiologist the blood vessels or better evaluate the internal organs. Oral contrast may also be given for better visualization of the bowel.
CT scans are great tools in diagnosing cancers, measuring tumors and defining the extent of disease. CT scans can also track the improvement of disease after treatment. CT scans are useful to evaluate trauma victims, diagnosing serious internal injuries that may not be seen by clinical exam alone. CT can also provide fine detail of bones, when injury is supected.
PRC interventional radiologists also use CT guidance to direct certain procedures and biopsies when necessary.
What is the 64 Slice Advantage? In a single rotation this new system creates 64 credit card-thin images, totaling 40 millimeters of anatomical coverage. These images are combined to form a three-dimensional view of the patient's anatomy for the physician to analyze.
The unprecedented coverage speed of this system allows clinicians to capture a high resolution image of the heart, called a CTA, in 5 beats, or go head to toe in less than 10 seconds faster than any other CT scanner on the market today.
CTA (CT Angiogram) is commonly used to:
• Examine the pulmonary arteries in the lungs to rule out pulmonary embolus, a serious but treatable condition.
• Visualize blood flow in the renal arteries (those supplying the kidneys) in patients with high blood pressure. Narrowing (stenosis) of a renal artery is a cause of high blood pressure (hypertension) in some patients and can be corrected. The multiplanar image reconstruction method for viewing the images makes renal CT angiography a very accurate examination. Also done in prospective kidney donors.
• Identify aneurysms in the aorta or in other major blood vessels. Aneurysms are diseased areas of a weakened blood vessel wall that bulges out like a bulge in a tire. Some aneurysms are life threatening because they can rupture.
Identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches. Dissection means that the layers of the artery wall peel away from each other like the layers of an onion. Dissection can cause pain and can be life-threatening.
• Identify a small aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation inside the brain that can cause severe headaches, stroke or hemorrhage.
• Detect atherosclerotic disease that has narrowed the arteries to the legs.
• Detect thrombosis (clots) in veins, for example large veins in the pelvis and legs.
• Identify dissection in the aorta or its major branches. Dissection means that the layers of the artery wall peel away from each other like the layers of an onion. Dissection can cause pain and can be life-threatening.
CTA is also used to detect narrowing or obstruction of arteries in the pelvis and in the carotid arteries, which bring blood from the heart to the brain. When a stent has been placed to restore blood flow in a diseased artery, CTA will show whether or not it is keeping the artery open. Examining arteries in the brain may help reach a correct diagnosis in patients who complain of headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears or fainting. Injured patients may benefit from CTA if there is a possibility that one or more arteries have been damaged. In patients with a tumor, it may be helpful for the surgeon to know the details of arteries feeding the growth.