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New Hybrid Imaging System Allows Pinpoint Locating Of Problems

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the first hospital in New England to offer a powerful hybrid imaging system that allows physicians to precisely pinpoint the location of tumors, fractures and infections.

BOSTON - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the first hospital in New England to offer a powerful hybrid imaging system that allows physicians to precisely pinpoint the location of tumors, fractures and infections.

The Philips Precedence SPECT/CT system allows physicians to simultaneously perform a SPECT and a CT scan. It then fuses images from the two scans, giving physicians' crucial information about both metabolism and structure.

"The SPECT/CT is an incredible breakthrough," said Gerald Kolodny, MD. "For the first time, we are able to see the three-dimensional images of metabolic functions offered by the SPECT along with the structural images provided by CT. Together they allow us to more precisely locate and determine the extent of the disease or trauma."

SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) is a powerful nuclear imaging method that provides exceptionally detailed 3D images of metabolic activity deep within the body.

A CT (computerized axial tomography) scan is an X-ray procedure that provides three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body.

The system fuses SPECT images with multi-slice CT images taken during one patient sitting. Incorporating the CT image data allows physicians to better view structural, or anatomic, detail, such as the location of and changes in tissue. Metabolic "hot spots" (SPECT) fused with images of corresponding structural tissue (CT) can reveal disease states before structural change occurs. This gives physicians crucial information in deciding whether surgery is needed or what type of treatment is best.

Depending on what type of exam is scheduled, the patient can spend from 30 minutes up to about three hours in the nuclear imaging department. Actual imaging time can range from 15 minutes to approximately one hour. With the system, Beth Israel Deaconess has the flexibility to obtain SPECT/CT images at once or obtain just nuclear or CT images separately.

During a SPECT/CT scan, a radioactive tracer is administered to the patient. When the radioactive isotope decays, it emits gamma rays that are then processed by the gamma camera. These gamma rays help to form the clinical images that will reveal metabolic activity inside that part of the body. A CT scan is performed with the patient in the same position. The two images are then fused.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.