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Press Releases

Holy Name Medical Center Expands Diagnostic Imaging Capabilities

Date: 11/30/2011

New nuclear medicine technology produces best images in half the time

Teaneck, NJ - Holy Name Medical Center now offers the latest generation in SPECT imaging with its recent installation of the Siemans Symbia® S imaging system. The Symbia® S represents the absolute latest generation in nuclear medicine imaging technology, bringing significantly shorter test time and high resolution 3-D images. It is highly versatile in its ability to detect disease across multiple medical specialties, providing exquisitely detailed information about illnesses and abnormalities that are complicated or difficult to diagnose.

The Symbia® S assists physician specialists by giving them the data they need to make accurate decisions about therapy and follow-up for their patients. For example, cardiologists at Holy Name use it to diagnose heart disease, oncologists find tumor cells and stage cancer before it can be seen by other imaging modalities, and infectious disease specialists conduct white blood cell scans to determine the source of fevers of unknown origin.

"The most compelling advantage to patient care is the new technology's ability to produce high resolution images in less time," says Jacqueline Brunetti, MD, Medical Director of the Department of Radiology at Holy Name Medical Center. "Clear images ultimately improve patient outcomes because they give us the information we need to treat our patients appropriately-that's our highest priority. But it's also important to maintain a high level of patient satisfaction, and cutting down on scanning time goes a long way toward that goal."

Test time reduced by more than 50 percent

The new technology cuts imaging time by more than half. Previously, oncology patients have had to tolerate body scans that took 2½ hours each. That has now been reduced to one hour.

Imaging studies for cardiac patients have been similarly abbreviated. For example, the previous generation of nuclear stress testing-still used widely in Bergen County-requires 24 minutes of resting imaging and 24 minutes of stress testing. More time is needed for bariatric patients. The new system performs both parts of the test in a total of 15 minutes, no matter the size of the patient. The machine can accommodate people weighing up to 500 pounds, giving larger patients who require cardiac clearance before bariatric surgery access to this most accurate testing modality.

The scanner's open design also makes testing more comfortable for pediatric and geriatric patients, as well. In addition, it features a range of camera head positioning options, allowing patients to remain on their stretchers or in wheelchairs, when necessary.

"Many people with systemic illnesses must undergo periodic testing that is lengthy, uncomfortable and inconvenient," says Dr. Brunetti. "Being able to position the patient comfortably and expedite the test takes some of the anxiety out of the process."

Detecting changes before they are seen or felt

SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) is a member of the nuclear medicine family of imaging modalities. Unlike other imaging technologies, such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that provide structural or anatomical information, SPECT detects activity on the cellular level. Patients are injected with a small amount of a targeted radioisotope, which is attracted to a specific organ or region of the body, highlighting the area of interest. Because a nuclear medicine scan can detect a disease process before symptoms or visible changes to the tissue occur, it has the capacity to identify abnormalities before they become advanced.