April 6, 2007
"I am so way excited you can't even believe it!"
Dr. Douglas Phillips, Director of Neuroradiology, and his team of MRI technicians are bursting with excitement over what they refer to as their "new toy," the 3T MRI scanner. The high-tech piece of equipment boasts a magnet twice the strength of traditional MRI machines, meaning higher quality care when it comes to stroke and brain surgery patients.
"The color depicts chemicals of the brain that are chemically active, it's actually when you're thinking or doing a task. The scanner is so exquisitely sensitive that it actually can depict that metabolism, that utilization of the brain," Dr. Phillips explained.
Coupled with the new copper-shielded and steel-reinforced room that houses the machine, the upgrade not only means more accurate patient care, but opens greater doors for research.
"Moving to 3T means that a lot of the research applications for MRI are markedly improved," Dr. Phillips continued.
And the high-powered magnet is just one of the two new additions to UVa's Health System. Just down the hall, Dr. Chris Kramer, Professor of Radiology and Medicine, and his team are familiarizing themselves with a new dual-source CT scan unit, the only one in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
"You can imagine taking a movie of a fast-moving object, like the heart if your not getting frames fast enough, the movie gets blurred," Dr. Kramer said.
But with the multi-detector CT scan, doctors are able to double the number of images taken each second, and those seconds are what count most to ER patients suffering from chest pains.
"In older generation scanners, one would have to ask the patient to hold their breath for 25 seconds. With this scanner, the breath holds somewhere between 7 and 10 seconds," Dr. Kramer said.