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Safer, Faster, Better Imaging

Safer, Faster, Better Imaging

In 2014, a new state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) machine was installed in a renovated suite at HCM. The new machine uses high-definition technology to capture images of the body’s structures and systems with greater clarity and detail, uses less radiation and completes its scans in less time.

With its advanced, HD technology, the new CT machine:

  • performs scans faster
  • can use less contrast (the medicine that allows physicians to better see the part of the body being scanned)
  • produces more detailed images of the body
  • customizes the amount of radiation needed for each patient, thus reducing overall radiation by up to 50 percent

“All of these features mean a better, faster and more comfortable exam for patients,” said Radiology Director Dustin Embrey, RT, MR. “This scanner allows us to see the body’s anatomy in much greater detail than ever before.”

The machine’s improved image quality allows physicians to diagnose problems more quickly and with greater accuracy, leading to more effective treatment plans and proactive measures for patients. The new CT machine also expands HCM’s diagnostic capabilities, particularly related to colon, brain and heart screenings. These additional resources enable physicians to work proactively with patients who are at risk for conditions like coronary artery disease or stroke.

“The new machine can do so much more than take a picture of the brain,” Embrey said. “It can aid in colon evaluations, check the blood flow in the brain and examine the chambers and vessels of the heart.”

These new evaluation tools include virtual colonoscopy, coronary angiography and brain perfusion imaging, an especially helpful capability when dealing with head injuries and possible strokes.

The $1.2 million scanner was funded by Friends of the Hospital Gala XV in 2013, donors to the Foundation’s 2012 end-of-year appeal, HCM employees, Canyon Creek Foundation, Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation, Floyd A. and Kathleen C. Cailloux Foundation, The Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country, Inc., Dian Graves Owen Foundation, The Don and Julie Holden Foundation, Inc., and an anonymous donor.

“With this machine, we are improving patient care and increasing safety,” Embrey said. “All in all, for patients the new CT machine is faster, better and safer.”

In 2010, an additional ultrasound machine was made possible at HCM—a gift through the HCMH Foundation from Ed and Trudy Brune—to serve patients in the HCM Breast Center, which is in a separate building from the main hospital. The presence of the additional ultrasound machine is a monumental help to patients who have had a suspicious spot detected through a mammogram, because they can immediately have an ultrasound performed for further clarification of a potential threat. Prior to 2010, the patient would have to schedule an ultrasound in the hospital imaging department. Today, the speed with which ultrasound clarification is provided gives faster data to physicians treating the patient, and it provides answers to a human being whose well-being hangs in the balance.