New CT Technology Decreases Radiation Exposure for St. Dominic's Patients

St. Dominic Hospital is improving access and convenience to quality imaging care for Mississippians by becoming one of the first hospitals in the state to offer patients the next generation of imaging technology through the use of Adaptive Statistical Iterative Reconstruction (ASIR).

The ASIR upgrade to existing computed tomography (CT) scans, at St. Dominic's is a new advanced reconstruction technique developed by GE Healthcare that delivers quality images with reduced patient exposure to radiation.

The ASIR reduces noise in the image, allowing a decrease in radiation dose to obtain standard diagnostic quality images. Researchers found nearly identical image quality using the reduced dose CT method with ASIR compared with the standard dose CT method without ASIR in CT scans. Patient radiation doses were reduced up to 65% using the low-dose IR method, studies revealed.

Corey Welch, RT, (R) (CT), CT Manager in St. Dominic's Diagnostic Imaging Department, said radiologists have found the ASIR improves low contrast detectability and image quality. Most important to patients, the ASIR upgrade dramatically reduces radiation exposure by nearly 40% for routine scans and more than 80% for cardiac scans. "ASIR’s technology allows this benefit without compromising the quality of images," Welch said.

"Finding a way to reduce radiation dose for routine body CT imaging has been an ongoing concern for many years," said Welch. "Patients now receive up to 40% less radiation per dose with no loss of image quality, which is vitally important in the area of CT scans. Our goals of reducing the amount of radiation patients receive during a CT scan while maintaining a high quality image is adequately met by this new innovation."

"CT scans are responsible for more than two thirds of the total radiation dose associated with medical imaging exams. Upgrading CT equipment to reduce patient radiation was an investment St. Dominic's was eager to make when the ASIR was proven to be beneficial in this area without reducing image quality," Welch said.

A CT scan, sometimes called a CAT scan, is a valuable diagnostic medical exam that gives radiologists a non-surgical way to see inside a patient's body. One advantage of CT is its ability to rapidly acquire two-dimensional pictures of the body. Using a computer, these 2-D images can be presented as 3-D images for in-depth clinical evaluations.

At St. Dominic's, CT scans are used to diagnose certain cancers, heart conditions and other abnormalities within the body, Welch said. In the case of cancer patients, who often require numerous follow-up CT scans, the lower dosage will prove extremely beneficial over an extended period of time.

"A lower radiation dose is definitely better for the patient, especially those who undergo more than one during the course of a year," said Welch. "However, St. Dominic's would not have considered making this upgrade if image quality had been affected in a detrimental way. In simple terms, we don’t want to miss anything. We have already seen ASIR maintains the quality while lowering the dose. This is the absolute best of both worlds."

For more information or to schedule patient images, please call St. Dominic's Diagnostic Imaging Department at 601-200-6750.