Radiation is everywhere. No matter what we do, we are all exposed daily. Over time, it can increase our risk of cancer. But as Nancy Naeve Brown reports if you plan to get a cat scan at the Avera Heart Hospital your radiation exposure is significantly decreased because of their new high tech equipment.
When the Avera Heart Hospital got this new flash CT scan they dramatically improved their diagnostic tools and drastically decreased the amount of radiation you are getting to get those test results. Radiologist Dr. Sabina Choudhry with Avera Medical Group Radiology says they can scan an entire heart in one second.
"Our new scanner minimizes radiation exposure to our patients by inbuilt technology in the scanner itself. Also pulse processing techniques that have been employed to view our images at the same or better quality and not compromise the study yet radiation to our patients. On average we can limit radiation exposure by 25 to 50 % with new scanner, "Dr. Choudhry said.
That's important because in this day and age when we are more aware of radiation exposure people may steer clear of tests like cat scans. What you may not know is the amount of radiation we are exposed to in the environment.
"There are natural sources of radiation including cosmic rays when we fly in planes or living in high levels like city's like Denver, exposure to radon in rock in the soil or certain foods in the soil. For every 420 cancers diagnosed one can be traced back to radiation. Yes it's one that shouldn't have happened but it's something to keep in mind the proportion of cancer are really small compared to the risk we put our patients at," Dr. Choudhry said.
That's why it's important to note, if you get your calcium score, which indicates plaque build up in the arteries, at Planet Heart now, this scan has 1/3 the radiation compared to the previous 64 slice CT which was considered state-of-the-art.
"It scans really rapidly the other reason the amount of radiation putting patients through is also limited by the hardware of the scanner itself and it only allows the amount of radiation the patient needs for the images," Dr. Choudhry says.
Dr. Choudhry says we need to know the risks of radiation, but she says the benefits of medical imaging far outweigh the risks. You can't fix what you don't know is there.
To learn more about the new Flash CT Scan or sign up for Planet Heart call 877-AT-AVERA 877-282-8272. Or go to http://www.avera.org/heart-hospital/index.aspx