Low-dose CT scans available in Northwest Indiana

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The New England Journal of Medicine cited a 2007 study that found that as many as 2 percent of cancers in the United States are caused by radiation exposure from CT-related imaging alone. While this is concerning, CT scans are a very important diagnostic tool, so be informed and choose a facility with a low dose CT scanner. Porter Regional Hospital is the only hospital in Northwest Indiana to have low dose CT scanners at all of its locations.

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Porter Regional Hospital

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Porter Regional Hospital recently replaced CT scanners throughout its system with new technology that significantly reduces dose radiation. Why is this important, and how does it directly impact patient safety? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Q: What is a CT scan?

A: CT stands for computed tomography. This sophisticated and very useful imaging option uses X-ray technology to get detailed, 3D images of certain parts of the body, such as bones, and they are good for examining the skull, sinuses, chest, abdomen and pelvis.

Q: Does a CT scan expose a patient to radiation?

A: Yes, but here’s the good news: New technology has led to the development of a low-dose CT scanner and Porter Regional Hospital is the first in the area to replace all of its CT scanners at all of its locations with low-dose scanners. This includes the machines at Porter Regional Hospital, Portage Hospital and Valparaiso Medical Center.

Q: How much lower is low dose?

A: Depending on why the CT scan is being performed, patients at Porter are now receiving 40 to 60 percent less exposure to radiation from the scan than reference levels used by the National Council on Radiation Protection. Some patients, like those receiving follow-up care for cancer treatment, may require multiple scans within the same year. In these cases, low-dose CT technology is even more critical.

Q: Does low dose mean lower quality images?

A: Not at all. Porter has a 64-slice and two 16-slice low-dose CT scanners, and the new technology produces high-quality diagnostic information from every scan. A CT scan requires a certain amount of radiation to pass through the body to create a clear image, so just lowering the amount would not work well. With the new advanced software, the grainy quality of the images is decreased as the images are being processed.

Q: I’ve had a CT scan in the past. Should I be concerned?

A: The effects of radiation are cumulative, which means that the amount of radiation a person is exposed to — in the past, present and future — adds up. The New England Journal of Medicine cited a 2007 study that found that as many as 2 percent of cancers in the United States are caused by radiation exposure from CT-related imaging alone. While this is concerning, CT scans are a very important diagnostic tool, so discuss this with your physician if one is ordered for you.

Q: Do I have a choice where I get a CT scan?

A: Yes. You can take your physician’s orders to any facility where CT scans are performed. And, with Porter Regional Hospital now offering low-dose scans at all locations, you may choose this safer type of scan at one of Porter’s three convenient locations.

The bottom line is that by doing your homework, weighing the benefits, and choosing Porter Regional Hospital, you can now reduce the risks from CT radiation exposure.

More information is at www.porterhealth.com.

Provided by Porter Regional Hospital