Healthwatch: CAT Scans Upgraded

Patients who suffer head injuries and other trauma, along with stroke patients, are benefiting from a new model CAT scanner in use at Rush Foundation Hospital. Dr. Jim Cady said it not only gathers information faster, but it improves image quality as well.

"The more 'slices' you can get, the better the quality. This scanner has the capability of taking ten 'slices' with each revolution, with each revolution being half a second," Cady said. "You can actually take twenty cross sectional pictures in one second. It allows us to do a head scan and an abdomen and pelvis scan in a trauma patient in about 10 to 15 minutes, whereas before it took 45 minutes to an hour."

Cady said the time saved can now be devoted to treating a patient medically, surgically, or by monitoring the patient for several hours.

"In trauma, time is of the essence," said Cady. "And the faster you can make the diagnosis, the faster you can get to definitive treatment."

Cady stresses prevention of head and spine injuries whenever practical. He says the E.R. sees more patients who are hurt in motor vehicle crashes than from any other cause.

"Trauma is the number one cause of death in America among all ages, one through 44. So wearing seatbelts, if you're a bicycler, wearing a helmet, all of those things for prevention, help cut your risk of injury," Cady said.

But should you need a CAT scan, the fastest evaluation is available in Meridian at Rush.