News Release

Friday, July 15, 2011

Contact: Greg Raver-Lampman, 668-7554

CHKD offers safer, low-dose CT scanner

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.—CHKD has installed a new CT scanner that creates extremely high-resolution images at unprecedented speeds and uses just a fraction of the radiation required by scanners available in most settings. The scanner is a Siemens dual-source Somatom Definition Flash system, capable of producing up to 256 slices.

“We really want the community to understand that our new CT system is a quantum leap forward in terms of patient safety,” says Dr. David Kushner, CHKD’s medical director of radiology and radiation safety officer.

CT stands for computerized tomography, a method of creating detailed cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays. CT scans are diagnostic mainstays in medicine, especially for acute trauma, complex lung and cardiac imaging, acute onset of neurological symptoms and images of bony structures.

The new scanner completes a chest CT in about a quarter of a second. “We don't even have to ask children to hold their breath for that exam anymore,” says radiology supervisor Becky Ward. “We expect that the speed of this scanner will reduce the need for sedation with CT scans.”

CHKD's investment in the $1 million-plus scanner reflects its longstanding commitment to make all radiology tests as safe as possible for children. The new CT system, which uses two dual-source X-ray tubes that revolve simultaneously around the child's body, can perform a spiral heart scan with less than 1 millisievert (mSv) of radiation. With other scanners, the average effective dose required for this purpose ranges from 8 mSv to 40 mSv.

The new scanner also has a feature that fine-tunes radiation dosages to fit the specific body of each patient, because no two children are shaped exactly alike, even if they both weigh 50 pounds. 

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this lower-dose, safer CT option to the region’s children,” Dr. Kushner adds.

CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit hospital was founded in 1961 and last year handled 5,835 inpatient admissions and 204,000 outpatient specialty, surgical and emergency room visits, addressing routine and complex illnesses, injuries and chronic conditions.