Two Long Island hospitals have recently taken on two high-tech heart X-ray scanners which claim to be able to take a detailed three-dimensional image in under a second. They claim costs and confusion have been drastically reduced for heart patients -- a population experiencing growth throughout the nation.
The name of the procedure is "coronary-computer tomographic angiography." The Toshiba machine, which costs about $2 million, is a 320-slice CT scanner and is now boasted at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) and Stony Brook University. The "slices" refers to the amount of images taken by the scanner. This new one replaces the old, 64-slice machine.
The 320-slice scanner takes multiple images of the heart within .175 to 0.35 seconds: "You can obtain all the data you need in a single heartbeat," said the director of cardiac imaging at NUMC. The procedure is noninvasive and picks up artery and heart blockages immediately. Diagnoses, distinctions between various heart diseases, and decisions for further treatment have now been made much easier. Invasive procedures have thus been eliminated for almost all patients -- all but those with certain obstructions.
NUMC just bought their machine late last year and have used it on only 33 patients thus far, according to the latest numbers.
Stony Brook has had their machine since 2010. They claim to have saved $1.25 million for every 250 patients who have not been admitted for emergency services. For them, a scan costs $700, while a deterred emergency admission saves about $5000.
Besides the machine's great efficacy, it is also being praised for its far lower emissions of radiation, compared with its predecessor technology.
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