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Ultrafast CT Scans at Montefiore Medical Center Diagnose Heart Disease Without Uncomfortable Invasiv

Speed offers quick diagnosis in the emergency room, relieving wait times


NEW YORK CITY, NY (January 31, 2006) — New state-of-the-art CT scanners at Montefiore Medical Center are so fast they can image the beating heart in just five seconds, essentially freezing it in motion so that every detail of the coronary arteries is clear.

"The faster speed and finer resolution of these scanners will be useful in imaging any area of the body, but particularly the heart," said Stephen Amis, MD, chairman of radiology.  "Because the heart is constantly in motion, older, slower machines couldn't give us the detailed views of the coronary arteries that we need to diagnose cardiac disease."

Called volume computed tomography, the technology can image stationary organs in just one second, and the full body in ten.  Three-dimensional pictures are created by assembling 64 "slices" for every 40 millimeters of tissue.  Each slice is as thin as a credit card, yielding superior resolution for a detailed view of any internal abnormalities or injuries.

Montefiore is installing four volume CT scanners: three in the Moses division and one in the Weiler division.  One of the scanners in the Moses division will be placed in the emergency room, where it will help diagnose patients more quickly, relieving wait times.  Montefiore's emergency department service has been ranked the seventh busiest in the nation, logging a record 180,000 patients in 2004.

"We're very excited about acquiring this technology for our patients," Dr. Amis said.  "It opens up new possibilities for diagnosing heart disease without patients having to undergo an uncomfortable invasive procedure."

Physicians from the Montefiore departments of radiology and cardiology will be collaborating on a study to determine the best use of the scans in the emergency room.  One question they will address is whether the tool can definitively diagnose, in all patients, a narrowing of the arteries that might be the cause of chest pain and could lead to a heart attack.  At present, a coronary angiogram, or cardiac catheterization, is the gold standard for that diagnosis.  The procedure, which involves threading a tiny tube up through an artery in the upper thigh into the coronary arteries, is uncomfortable and time-consuming for patients and usually requires hospital admission.  A volume CT scan may provide enough information so that, at least in some cases, an angiogram is unnecessary.

Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, ranks among the top one percent of all US hospitals based on its investments in medical innovation and cutting-edge technology.

Montefiore invests more in order to enable compassionate, personalized care and the most positive outcomes for patients and their families in New York, the tri-state area and beyond.
Montefiore's unique combination of 'state-of-the-art' technology with 'state-of-the-heart' medical and nursing care in a teaching and research environment provides patients with access to world-class medical experts, the newest and most innovative treatments and the best medical center experience anywhere. 

This 1,062 bed medical center includes the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Hospital and The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, a large home healthcare agency and a 21-site medical group practice located throughout the Bronx and nearby Westchester.
Montefiore treats all major illnesses and has distinguished centers of excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children's health, women's health, surgery and the surgical subspecialties.  Montefiore Medical Center focuses on providing family-centered healthcare in a nurturing environment that extends well beyond its hospital and ambulatory settings.