East Lancashire first in UK to introduce CT scan technology

The new scanner
The new scanner
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Patients in East Lancashire requiring potentially life-changing investigations are benefitting from a new, state-of-the-art scanner installed last month.

East Lancashire Hospitals Chairman Professor Eileen Fairhurst and Chief Executive Kevin McGee this week officially opened the Aquilion Lightning SP, manufactured in Japan by Canon Imaging Systems.

Royal Blackburn is the first UK hospital to install the latest CT technology which is capable of recording 80 views (slices) of the human body in a single scan rotation.

Supporting all the latest CT technological advances currently available, the new equipment can perform all CT scanning work patients expect in a modern NHS hospital, including biopsy examinations.

“This is a significant investment for the Trust which increases our CT scanners to four,” said consultant radiologist Dr Tom Newton.

“Put simply, our new CT scanner can scan the entire body really quickly. In technical terms, the image quality is excellent and the 80-slice capability with fast image reconstruction means a full body scan can take as little as 15 seconds.”

A Computerised Tomography (CT) scan uses special X-ray equipment to take a volume of data of the body. A computer then processes this data and produces images that show a cross section of the area being examined, such as the internal organs, blood vessels and bones.

“As well as the machine itself contributing to a better patient experience, we’ve also upgraded the CT scanning department,” explained Cross Sectional Imaging Manager, Kimberley Whelan.

“There’s a much brighter, spacious and more relaxed feel to the place, and this is something which benefits both patients and the staff who work here, all of whom have been played a huge part in getting the scanner up and running and really embraced the changes whole-heartedly.”

“Demand for imaging has increased significantly in recent years, by over 40 per cent since 2013,” said Radiology Directorate Manager, Moira Rawcliffe.

Increasing the number of CT scanners at the Trust to four, the new Aquilion Lightning SP means more patients can be scanned as the scan time is shorter which means Trust radiographers can do a wider variety of scans using less contrast and radiation dose which is beneficial for patients.

“Twenty-five years ago we had a single CT scanner. Today, with the addition of the Canon Aquilion Lightning, we have four, plus three MRI scanners to meet demand and reduce waiting times for patients.”

ELHT’s new Aquilion Lightning is a high performance, highly economical CT scanner with technology that should benefit the Trust and its patients for 15 years.

“Having four CT scanners with different capabilities gives us much more flexibility and is more good news for our patients,” added Dr Newton.