Wilcox has state’s fastest CT scanner

LIHUE — Kauai now has its first 320-slice computed tomography scanner, an X-ray imaging machine.

Now installed and in operation at Wilcox Memorial Hospital, the CT scanner is the fastest and most advanced scanner in the state, according to hospital officials. Wilcox and sister hospital Pali Momi Medical Center on Oahu are the only facilities in Hawaii with this technology to date.

“This new technology can produce superior images and definitive information for greater diagnostic confidence,” said President and CEO Kathy Clark. “With the convenience of quicker scan times, this state-of-the-art technology continues Wilcox’s commitment to safe scanning.”

The new scanner, which cost $1.96 million, is available now for general clinical use. The $642,000 construction project started in early January with Shioi Construction completing the interior renovation work.

The 2-metric-ton device can measure subtle changes in blood flow or minute blockages forming in blood vessels no bigger than the average width of a toothpick (1.5 millimeters) in the heart and brain.

The Aquilon 320 scanning machine has more than five times greater detector coverage than its commonly used predecessor, the 64-CT. The big advantage over other imaging technologies, researchers say, is that the 320-CT can, in one second or less, image “slices” as big as 16 centimeters (6.3 inches). This is wide enough to capture most of the body’s organs with one single rotation of its central, X-ray emitting gantry.

The 64-CT in comparison has the capacity to image just 3.2 centimeters (1.3 inches) at a time. It also takes up to 10 seconds to perform the same slice image area.

The ability to scan entire organs in one rotation means organs like the heart and the brain can now be scanned without table motion. The machine’s ability to perform multiple diagnostic tests at one time, its wide non-metal couchtop capable of holding bariatric patients up to 660 pounds, and its decreased scan times mean better patient comfort and convenience.

“In addition to better images, greater comfort and quicker scan times,” said Dr. Culliney, medical director of radiology at Wilcox, “the scanner’s lower radiation and contrast dosage can result in increased patient safety.”

Wilcox Memorial Hospital is equipped with MRI and CT scanners and a state-of-the-art surgical center with six surgical suites. In is also recognized for excellence in treating coronary artery disease, strokes and heart failure.

Shioi Construction is also conducting interior renovation for an upgraded C-section room at Wilcox. The $446,000 got underway in January.

Tropical J’s started work in April to install a $70,000 canopy and walkway for Wilcox Health Center. In addition, the Health Center is about expand its photovoltaic energy system with a $1,500,000 project designed and constructed by Stan Sato and DEP/APB JV LLC.

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