Great Ormond Street Hospital opens innovative new imaging centre

15 February 2008

Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, UK, a national centre of excellence in specialist healthcare for children, has opened a state-of-the-art medical imaging centre. The new facility has been developed to provide a high quality diagnostic imaging and interventional treatment service whilst ensuring comfort for its young patients.

The hospital delivers the widest range of specialist care of any children’s hospital in the UK. Each year it has 150,000 patient visits from children ranging from premature babies to late teens. The new magnetic resonance (MR) and computed tomography (CT) Imaging Centre has been equipped with the latest imaging technologies from Siemens and will perform a vital function in the investigation, diagnosis and research.

The new technology gives instant benefits to patients and staff. Modern technology is easy to use and enables the latest clinical techniques to be offered to patients. This usually means that less invasive procedures can be provided, which helps to reduce the anxiety usually experienced by young and unwell children and their parents.

For example, an MRI scanner has been combined in the same room as a cardiac angiography suite connected by a ‘Myabi’ patient transfer table. This unique hybrid solution, developed by Siemens in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, allows two different examinations to be carried out, one immediately after the other, without needing to re-anaesthetise the patient. This is especially useful in the research and clinical application of non-invasive heart surgery using advanced catheterisation techniques.

The Siemens portfolio at Great Ormond Street Hospital includes:

  • an independent Magnetom Avanto Cardiac MR unit;
  • a MAGNETOM Avanto MR combined with an ‘Artis dBC’ Cardiac Angio suite incorporating Myabi patient transfer table; and
  • a SOMATOM Definition Dual Source CT Scanner.

A ‘Symbia T2’ SPECT/CT Nuclear Medicine Scanner is also due to be installed shortly. All equipment is connected to a Siemens PACS and Medcon Cardiac system for fast image archiving and recall.

“We chose Siemens because we felt that each element of the equipment was the best on the market, and that the Avanto MR scanner had the most development potential,” said Dr. Andrew Taylor, Reader in Cardiovascular Imaging, Director at the Centre for Cardiovascular MR, Great Ormond Street Hospital. “Since installation, we have used the combined hybrid MR and Cath Lab to successfully guide device implantations, increasing patient safety, reducing x-ray radiation dose and monitoring the effectiveness of the procedures.”

“The Siemens Definition CT scanner provides a unique opportunity to undertake state-of-the-art cardiac CT in children without the need to use beta-blockers to slow the heart. We have undertaken 600 cardiac CTs at Great Ormond Street Hospital in the last three years and hope to utilise the new scanner to its maximum capacity working closely with physicists to enable significant radiation burden reduction to all of the children undergoing head and body CT, as well as cardiothoracic CT,” said D. Catherine Owens, Consultant Radiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The SOMATOM Definition Dual Source CT Scanner is an innovative solution offering advanced clinical opportunities and enhanced patient comfort. The speed of the scan is rapid enough to minimise the need to sedate patients and the wide opening minimises the feeling of claustrophobia — both important factors in the treatment of children.

The dual source design uses two x-ray tubes and two detectors at the same time giving double temporal resolution, which doubles the speed of scanning for cardiac imaging with high heart rates. This has great potential for cardiac imaging in children as the heart can be examined independently of the heart rate and without the need for beta-blockers.

The unique design also enables new clinical applications with different energies to gain valuable information to accurately diagnose and plan the most effective treatment. Furthermore, with the industry’s highest spatial resolution (0.33mm), fine anatomical details can be imaged, such as the smallest coronary vessels. Sophisticated dose modulation technology ensures that all examinations result in high image quality at the lowest achievable dose.

“Great Ormond Street Hospital is a recognised centre of excellence for paediatric diagnosis and treatment,” said Peter Harrison, Director of Imaging & Oncology Systems at Siemens. “We are delighted to have been involved in the provision of new equipment and in devising a unique and bespoke MRI and angiography solution. Collectively the new equipment will extend the provision of care offered to patients and work towards improving clinical outcomes well into the future.”

The official opening event was held on 17th January 2008 and involved key hospital stakeholders. Dr. Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital addressed the guests and assisted Oliver Barlin, a 9 year old patient, to unveil the commemorative plaque marking the opening of the new MR & CT Imaging Centre. Oliver had been suffering frequent epileptic fits caused by a lesion on his brain until explorative MRI examinations were used to identify his condition and prepare for delicate neurosurgery to remove the lesion. Oliver is now doing well and is free of seizures.

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