Affairs of the Heart
Hospital making it easier to get tough answers early for heart patients
Chuck Norris is not used to playing the role of guinea pig, but he gladly played the part recently as the first ever patient at Gonzales Healthcare Systems to go through the cardiac CT scan. But Norris, the hospital’s CEO, has nothing to worry about. It looks like his test came out clean and healthy. Thanks to the new technology, combining computed tomography (CT) and software that can translate the scans better than ever; local heart patients are in great shape.
The hospital has had the 64-slice Somatom Sensation CT scan now for about a year and used it many other medical procedures. It has changed the way doctors are able to find and isolate medical anomalies, says Justin Crisp, radiology technician and 3-D console technician in Gonzales. “Before this,” he said, “we had the ability to scan at only four slices per frame and now we are up to 64. “This gives the doctors an even greater chance of finding the small trouble spots in the heart early enough to do something about them before they become serious.”
The new software allows the technician and the doctor to see a three-dimensional view of the heart from every angle and position inside and outside the organ.
“The software takes the information transmitted by the scan and reconstructs the images into one of the most realistic views of the heart we have ever been able to view on a screen” states Crisp. “After we finish the test and transmit the information to the doctor,” he said, “that doctor has the ability to view almost any selection of the heart that might be thought to be causing the trouble.”
The combination of technologies makes the hospital one of only a few in this area of Texas to have the capabilities. Chuck Norris said, “The test actually replaces much more invasive practices doctors have used in the past to diagnose heart trouble, although cardiologists still have to use normal procedures when a patient needs a stint placed into a heart artery or coronary bypass surgery. But, this test can detect the blockages in the arteries the same way the older invasive procedure can.”
In photo: Chuck Norris, CEO and Marty Rivera, Radiology Technician