Scanner takes a bigger, better look

Nelson Hospital's new CT scanner is bigger because some patients are as well.

Installed last week, the machine has replaced one that was used for nine years. The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board allocated $1 million for its purchase and installation, as well as removing the old machine and outsourcing CT scans during the changeover.

Medical radiation technologist Greg Keys said the new scanner had a wider table and a bigger diameter, in keeping with the general population's increasing size. This would increase patient comfort.

It was also faster. "The biggest change will be that the new scanner will perform up to 160 slices in a single rotation. The previous scanner was a 16-slice scanner performing 16 per rotation.

"The new 80-detector scanner is considerably faster than the former system and employs new technology."

The new machine also used less radiation during a scan, he said.

Keys said CT scanners were an important tool. They were used mainly for cancer staging and diagnosis, and accident and emergency scans to determine trauma.

"[The machine] runs, effectively, from 8.30am until 4.30pm every day, and it's available 24/7."

Radiology team leader Shona Niven said she wanted to thank Nelson Radiology for its part in taking care of patients who needed to be scanned while the machines were in transit, and for assisting with transportation.

"It was a real co-ordination of many internal and external services."

The Nelson Mail