The well-traveled VCT

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There have been a number of recently reported installations of GE's LightSpeed VCT (volume computed tomography) scanner, including one recently in Alabama and one in Michigan.

Cardiology Associates, a 25-physician cardiology group in Mobile, Ala. scanned 125 patients in its first month working with the scanner. This is one of the company's first cardiology-specific installations of the scanner.

This new technology is built to allow cardiologists to capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in just five heartbeats. Additionally, the LightSpeed VCT uses GE's workflow technology Xtream FX, which is designed to help departments keep up with the enormous amounts of data created during routine sub-millimeter scanning.  Other features of Xtream FX include a scalable reconstruction engine and the ability to attain 43-millisecond temporal resolution, according to GE.

The new CT scanner is also now being used at the University of Michigan Health System, one of the first hospitals in the world, and the first in Michigan, to begin using the Lightspeed VCT.

The scanner's technology allows doctors to see whether someone is having a heart attack or a stroke, or whether their chest pain is caused by a blood clot, or by a tear or blockage in a blood vessel. The new scanner is capable of capturing every millimeter of tissue in the body in just a few seconds with barely any wait.

Simultaneously the Lightspeed VCT is being put to work by other U-M doctors to image problems with the digestive and urinary systems, the brain and the blood vessels that feed it, and other areas of the body. In addition to sparing many patients an invasive exam, the scanner lets doctors capture images of patients who are unable to hold their breath the period required by normal CT scan.

There are also plans to replace the U-M Emergency Department CT with 64-slice capability, and two more Lightspeed VCTs will arrive within a year.

Since making the $3.7 million CT purchase and upgrade project, the number of CT scans performed on U-M patients has gone up 46 percent, GE said.