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Press Releases

Holy Name Medical Center Opens Leading-Edge Nuclear Medicine Suite (Hybrid imaging technology delivers accurate results with half the radiation in half the time)

Date: 1/15/2014

The only combined SPECT-CT imaging technology in Bergen County

Holy Name Medical Center has established a brand-new Nuclear Medicine Suite in its Department of Radiology. The advanced facility, which opened to patient care in late December, features late-generation technology and upgraded software systems that minimize radiation exposure and expedite the testing process: half the dose, in half the time.

The 2,700 square foot space was designed with an eye to safety, efficiency and aesthetics. The goal was to create an imaging experience that delivers exquisitely accurate data, while using the lowest possible dose of radiation, in an environment that is convenient for both patients and staff, and provides all necessary services in one self-contained area.  The suite contains two nuclear imaging machines (SPECT-CT and SPECT only),  patient exam and consult space, a waiting area with Wi-Fi, dedicated physician image interpretation station, private patient bathrooms and patient locker rooms. Interior finishes include the use of hospital-grade wood finishes, a soothing color scheme, and back-lit nature scenes on the ceiling above the testing table.

Safer, faster, better

The centerpiece of the new Nuclear Medicine Suite is the Symbia® TruePoint™ SPECT-CT system from Siemens Medical Solutions, a nuclear imaging device that, paired with upgraded software, produces exquisitely detailed images  by combining single-photo emission computer tomography (SPECT) with computed tomography (CT).  SPECT-CT allows physicians to obtain more detailed information and increased image clarity in a single, non-invasive procedure than is possible with separate SPECT and CT procedures. The resulting scans enable physicians to detect diseases and abnormalities earlier, and target treatments with greater precision.  Holy Name is the only hospital in Bergen County to offer combined SPECT-CT.

The SPECT portion of the test requires injection of a radiopharmaceutical that contains a weak dose of radiation to target molecules specific to a particular disease before changes in structure (i.e., tumors) become visible. A gamma camera creates images of the area(s) of interest and identifies "hot spots" that indicate the location and extent of disease, such as increased metabolic activity characteristic of cancer. This information is combined with the anatomical details obtained through CT scan technology to pinpoint the location of abnormal cells.

At Holy Name, physicians are using SPECT-CT to diagnose cancer and detect metastases, find infections of unknown origin, and determine the status of problematic prosthetic implants for orthopedic patients.  Scans that formerly required patients to lie motionless for extended periods of time, are significantly abbreviated with the new technology. For example, an oncology study that previously took 2.25 hours, can now be performed in one hour and 10 minutes.

A valuable tool for physicians

"By providing complete information about the location, size, nature and extent of disease, the new system enables us to make diagnoses with pinpoint accuracy, anywhere in the body," explains Jacqueline Brunetti, MD, Director of the Department of Radiology at Holy Name.  "Earlier and more accurate diagnostic information allows us to plan treatment more effectively and provide feedback on how well treatment is working. It also allows us to avoid unnecessary surgery and reduce the risks of necessary surgery.  The result is more informed decision-making and, ultimately, better outcomes for our patients."

Dr. Brunetti adds that, by performing multiple exams at one time, the SPECT-CT system increases comfort and convenience for the patient, who must make only one appointment and undergo a single seamless procedure. Furthermore, she says the two-in-one concept eliminates inconsistencies between separate exams when variables such as patient movement and the time interval between the exams could produce conflicting results between tests.

Patients should inquire to their physicians as to whether they may obtain their radiologic tests at Holy Name Medical Center, where patients enjoy a high rate of satisfaction. Referral information can be obtained by calling 201-833-3675.