Elmhurst gets new scanner

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Patients waiting for CAT scans at Elmhurst Hospital Center have two reasons to be a little happier: The hospital has added a new, third scanner that is twice as fast as previous models.

“We’re able to get a lot more information in a shorter time,” said Dr. Emile Sudlow, the CT scan supervisor, of the $1.6 million machine, which went into operation in October.

The speed with which the new scanner functions means a more comfortable experience for patients, who previously had to hold their breath for between 20 and 25 seconds to prevent excessive cardiovascular movement. Now, doctors said, that time is down to between 5 and 13 seconds.

The 64−slice scanner can produce sharp, three−dimensional images of any organ, doctors said, including blood vessels.

A whole body scan takes about 30 seconds and produces four times the number of cross sections of a patient’s body as the older machines.

“It’s like cutting through a loaf of bread,” Sudlow said. “The thinner your slices, the easier it is to tell what’s between the slices.”

The equipment is common in city hospitals across the country, doctors said.

Elmhurst Hospital already has two 16−slice CT scan machines that produced 40,000 images in 2007. George Leconte, the hospital’s associate executive director, said the hospital has doubled the yearly number of CT scans it has performed since 2004.

They estimated the cost of a procedure on the new machine to be $600 to $1,000 per patient.

The scanner is of particular interest to the hospital’s cardiology department, which has begun using the scanner to examine a patient’s cardiovascular health without any invasive procedures. The machine enables them to diagnose heart anomalies and clogged arteries, said Dr. Mazullah Kameran, the hospital’s associate chief of cardiology.

The bulk of the funding for the scanner was provided by City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D−Jackson Heights), who praised Elmhurst Hospital for serving her district’s large immigrant community.

“I know who it treats, how it treats and the number of people it treats,” she said. “State−of­−the−art equipment is necessary. People from all walks of life deserve quality health care.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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