Mercy Unveils 64-slice CT Technology

SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center has announced the addition of 64-Slice CT imaging technology for cardiac patients, which provides extremely detailed 3D images of heart chambers and arteries. The 64-slice CT is particularly useful as a diagnostic tool for cardiac patients who seek medical treatment for chest pain, as well as those who have failed a cardiac stress test. This non-invasive, painless procedure can sometimes take the place of an angiogram, a diagnostic test performed in a catheterization lab under local anesthesia.

“Top-notch cardiac care is a hallmark of the services offered at Mercy Medical Center, and the addition of the 64-slice CT furthers our commitment to providing the most comprehensive and technologically advanced services to our patients,” said Dr. James Fanale, chief operating officer of Mercy Medical Center. “With the detailed images provided by the 64-slice CT, a cardiologist can more quickly determine the patient’s immediate risk of suffering a heart attack.”

Patients undergoing the procedure are first given an intravenous injection of X-ray contrast material. The 64-slice CT scanner then passes X-rays through the body and produces digitized signals. These signals are detected and reconstructed, and each represents a “slice” of the organ that is being tested. Upon computer “reconstruction” of these images, the doctor is able to almost immediately view very detailed images of the patient’s beating heart and surrounding arteries.

“The 64-slice CT produces high-quality images in a fraction of the time of other diagnostic tests. In fact, the information is literally gathered within a few beats of the patient’s heart,” said Dr. Carlos M. Valdes, director of the CT Department at Mercy Medical Center. “The procedure is also pain-free and less risky for the patient.”

“This new technology can be used in carefully selected patients to image the coronary arteries non-invasively, to provide an element of diagnostic information that would otherwise require the use of cardiac catheterization,” said Dr. Jay Markham of Pioneer Valley Cardiologists in Springfield. “Clearly, the 64-slice CT is a useful addition to our diagnostic options in caring for cardiac patients.”

The 64-slice CT adds another dimension to the cardiac services at Mercy Medical Center. These services include implantable defibrillators, nuclear stress tests, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations, and angiograms.