Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – As the reflection of a medical facility keeping up with 21st century technology, River Parishes Hospital has installed a state-of-the-art CT Scanner.

The $1 million capital equipment investment will allow 16 pictures to be taken at a time during one session. The previous unit took only one picture at a time.

The GE Light Speed 16-multi-slice CT Scanner, the first of its kind in the River Parishes, was unveiled Monday at the hospital during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The new CT scanner puts us on the cutting edge of imaging technology,” said River Parishes CEO Scott Boudreaux. “By acquiring the new scanner, we are showing that we believe in investing in worthwhile equipment to better our community’s health.”

In addition to shorter times needed to x-ray a patient, the unit acquires images in thinner cuts, giving much more detail.

CT scans are utilized on a regular basis to diagnose conditions such as brain inflammation or heart disease.

The new scanner also means a few more pluses for the physicians at the hospital. Because of faster scan times, they can make their diagnoses quicker and begin treatment sooner.

Reduced imaging time doesn’t mean reduced image quality. Lightspeed provides clearer images than older CT scanners.

The backlog problem associated with the older CT scanner is now a thing of the past, according to Ann LaBlanc, director of the hospital’s Radiology Department.

She added that the numbers have been very impressive since the unit was installed at the end of November 2004.

“In December, 252 patients used the new CT scanner,” she said. “During this month (January), we have already seen 175.”

This report easily triples past patient load, she added.

“It’s great to have such advanced technology in the River Parishes,” said Carrie Fisk, marketing director at River Parishes Hospital. “Our residents now don’t have to travel far to receive advanced medical testing.”