In use at Hopkins since Feb. 21, the scanner is expected to replace many diagnostic angiograms, the current gold standard for diagnostic coronary imaging.
The upgraded Hopkins scanner is one of two identical systems currently operating in the United States, the other installed in Boston, Mass. Its use will be the subject of a continuing medical education seminar attended by more than 300 cardiologists on Saturday, March 5, immediately preceding the 2005 Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Orlando, Fla.
"This added technology will dramatically alter the way we currently treat patients with suspected coronary disease and chest pain," says cardiologist Joo Lima, M.D., associate professor of medicine and radiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute.
"By immediately and very quickly checking for blocked arteries, we can sort out who is and is not at high risk of having a heart attack, and eliminate the need for unnecessary cardiac catheterization," he said. "And we no longer need to wait until a patient is stabilized before performing this critical diagnostic test."
The new scanner installed at Hopkins is an Aquilon 64 CFX multislice CT scanner, manufactured by Toshiba. Similar devices also are manufactured by Siemens and General Electric. Features include production of images at twice the speed and in greater detail than the 32-slice, and picture quality so good it decreases the need for invasive, more risky procedures, called angiograms or cardiac catheterization, to check for arterial blocks.