Groundbreaking system serving to to clear London hospital’s affected person backlog

London Well being Sciences Centre has rolled out a Canadian first, a brand new medical imaging system that cuts diagnostic wait occasions for some head and neck circumstances from two months to twenty minutes.

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London Well being Sciences Centre has rolled out a Canadian first, a brand new medical imaging system that cuts diagnostic wait occasions for some head and neck circumstances from two months to twenty minutes.

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LHSC’s MiniCat system, a cone-beam CT unit, is getting used totally on sufferers with ear circumstances on the hospital, however can be used to scan sufferers with sinus, jaw or bone-related facial issues, too.

“The machine is actually good for bone decision,” mentioned Sumit Agrawal, surgeon and scientist with LHSC’s division of otolaryngology, a medical specialty specializing in ailments and circumstances of the pinnacle and neck.

“Now, if we see a affected person who we expect wants a scan, we don’t even must make a timed reserving. We will simply ship them as much as radiology and inside 20 minutes they will get their scan and be again down in our clinic discussing the outcomes.”

The system has been on-line at LHSC’s College Hospital since April and already is seeing a median of 4 sufferers a day as this system ramps up, Agrawal mentioned.

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Throughout the scan, sufferers sit upright in a seat whereas the machine rotates round their head. A typical scan takes 30 seconds.

The MiniCat system means sufferers can get their imaging accomplished throughout the identical go to as their evaluation, saving money and time for folks referred to LHSC from round Southwestern Ontario and past, Agrawal mentioned Friday.

“We deal with sufferers all the way in which from Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay who come right down to London for care. We do all of the cochlear implants for the area, in addition to sufferers from Hamilton and the Niagara peninsula,” he mentioned.

“It (CT imaging) has been an enormous bottleneck for us. We’ve got sufferers who come to city, may need one thing mistaken of their ear and we schedule a CT scan for them. They’d get an appointment two months later and have to return again.”

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The machine additionally exposes sufferers to much less radiation than a typical CT scan and gives larger decision pictures, LHSC head and neck surgeon Lorne Parnes mentioned in a press release.

The tools is a few fifth of the price of a typical full-body CT scanner, which comes with a price ticket of as much as $1.5 million every, Agrawal mentioned.

LHSC’s new MiniCat was paid for by London Well being Sciences Basis donors, together with a serious contribution from former LHSC otology affected person Tom Allison.

“I do know first-hand the wait occasions to have a CT accomplished, and that wait feels insufferable,” Allison mentioned in a press release. “My solely hope for the present was to make a distinction for future sufferers needing remedy.”

The pandemic has prompted vital diagnostic imaging backlogs within the province. As of late September, Ontario’s Monetary Accountability Workplace estimated a backlog of almost 2.5 million diagnostic procedures, from MRI and CT scans to mammograms.

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Whereas some ear, nostril and throat sufferers – notably ones with comfortable tissue circumstances reminiscent of throat cancers – will nonetheless require conventional CT scans, the MiniCat will divert some sufferers from the common CT queue, Agrawal mentioned.

“It frees up spots on our common CT scanner. It helps general through-put for the hospital,” he mentioned.

The machine is also getting used for medical analysis at LHSC, serving to ear surgeons tune and personalize cochlear implants – digital gadgets that stimulate auditory nerves – in sufferers post-surgery.

“To do this, you have to have a high-resolution scanner like this MiniCat. With out the machine, we wouldn’t have been in a position to even pursue this analysis.” Agrawal mentioned.

“We will tune the frequencies identical to tuning a piano and assist enhance the outcomes of our cochlear implant sufferers.”


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