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Medical center in Hartselle adds CT technology

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Hartselle Medical Center has installed a full-body computed tomography scanner.

The system includes enhanced features for greater patient comfort and safety, faster exam times and improved image quality for speedier diagnosis, hospital Chief Executive Officer Jeff Rains said.

Including the new $500,000 scanner, Community Health System has invested more than $10 million in the hospital since acquiring it about a decade ago.

“We’re committed to serving the people in this community and meeting their needs,” said Rains, who took over as CEO almost 15 months ago.

With the scanner, the hospital will be able to do what Rains called a “standard examination” of the chest, abdomen and chest in about 10 to 15 seconds. The old equipment took between three and five minutes.

Examination time is important, Rains said, noting that anxiety builds when patients have to wait.

“This is going to be very helpful in emergency room related cases,” he said. “If a patient comes in with an abdomen injury, it’s important to get the results as fast as possible.”

During a CT examination, the patient will lie on a table that technicians slowly move into the scanner, which has a doughnut-shaped opening.

Once inside, a series of X-ray beams will create hundreds of cross-sectional pictures that represent slices of the patient’s body.

In seconds, the system’s computer assembles the slices into three-dimensional images.

“The most exciting part is the level of details doctors will be able to see in the images,” Rains said. “They will be able to see very minute things such as blood vessels. This is many times better than what we have had in the past.”

While the scanner uses X-ray technology, it is distinguished from other imaging tools — like traditional X-rays — by its ability to display a combination of soft tissue such as muscle, organs, fat and bones in a single image.

“We’re excited about bringing this technology to Hartselle,” Rains said.

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