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First U.S. Hospital Installation of New MRI Technology

July 3, 2007 -- Platte Valley Medical Center’s new Medical Imaging Department will offer one of the highest combined levels of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) imaging in the world with new features that enhance both patient comfort and image accuracy.

Imaging is a key diagnostic tool available to physicians.Platte Valley Medical Center is the first hospital in the U.S. – in fact, the first outside of Japan - to install a Toshiba Vantage MRI with Atlas upgrade.The system provides the latest magnetic resonance imaging capability available in the U.S. today.

The new system was first introduced last December at a conference of the Radiological Society of North America.At the leading edge of MRI technology, the Vantage with Atlas system produces the best image quality available within the most patient-friendly environment.

With its new MRI technology, Platte Valley Medical Center will serve as a showcase for Toshiba with health care professionals from throughout the nation flying into Denver International Airport to preview the new technology in Brighton.

Patient-Friendly MRI
The new MRI system minimizes the two most negative experiences patients traditionally have with the MRI imaging process - claustrophobia and the heavy clanging and buzzing noises loud enough to require use of special ear plugs.

It offers patient-friendly features such as a shorter magnet and ultra short bore platform - more donut-shaped than tube-shaped - minimizing the claustrophobic effect of being inserted into a narrow, long tunnel.For most procedures, the patient enters the magnet feet-first, rather than headfirst, and unless a diagnosis requires imaging of the head and shoulders, those body parts remain outside the magnet to greatly increase patient comfort.

In addition, the system features patented noise reduction technology that effectively reduces noise during operation by up to 90 percent compared with older MRI systems.This feature led the American Tinnitus Association to recommend Toshiba to its members who have auditory sensitivities.

“Over the years, patients have had concerns with claustrophobia and overall discomfort during MRI scans.Now, we can alleviate many of these issues,” said Karen Swanson, director of medical imaging for the hospital.“The short-bore design also makes the system feel more open, and the Vantage has significantly reduced noise during scanning which is more calming for the patient.

“When the patient is more at ease, we have greater success with the scan and capture better images to help the physician make a confident diagnosis.”

Image Clarity
The new MRI scanner’s patented gradients, the “horsepower” of the system, increase the clarity of images.The imaging process is faster because the integrated coil system eliminates the need to move the patient in and out of the scanner to change coils in order to complete various procedures.This allows for more images and procedures within a given timeframe.

Using an advanced MRI technique, physicians can simultaneously view images of vascular structures in the chest and abdomen without the use of contrast agents, which also improves patient comfort, reduces cost and allows the scan to be performed repeatedly, if needed.

In addition to its patient comfort features, the Vantage is a high-field MRI system that performs a wide variety of MRI exams including the latest state-of-the-art imaging techniques.For example, the system enables physicians to perform studies including cardiac imaging, EPI functional perfusion, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).

“As medical technology becomes more and more sophisticated,” Swanson said,“we are able to image and evaluate more medical conditions at earlier stages than ever before.With early diagnosis, we can more effectively plan for a successful treatment.”

Breast MRI
The new MRI will be equipped with a breast coil that is significant in light of two recent studies published by The New England Journal of Medicine. One study reported that breast MRI is highly beneficial as a screening tool for women who have an especially high risk of developing breast cancer.A guideline issued by the American Cancer Society recommended that these women have an MRI with their annual mammogram.A second study revealed that for women who were diagnosed with cancer in one breast, MRI scans detected 90 percent of cancers in the opposite breast that had been missed by other exams.

How MRI Works
MRI uses a powerful magnet approximately 7,000-times stronger than the magnetic force of the earth.During an exam, the patient lies inside the donut-like opening of the magnet.

MRI technology is used to identify tumor masses and other abnormalities in the head, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis and extremities, as well as to examine bone and joint injuries.Frequently, this type of diagnostic information cannot be acquired with any other medical procedure, except surgery.

64-Slice CT Scanner
The new PVMC hospital features one of the most sophisticated multislice CT scanning technologies available.The Toshiba Aquilion 64 CT scan captures precise images of any area of the body in as little as a ten second breath-hold .The fast scanning capabilities offer significant benefits for a quick and accurate diagnosis of trauma patients and patients experiencing chest pain or stroke.

In addition, exams, which take 10 to 20 minutes with a standard CT scanner, can now be performed in just 19 seconds with images that allow physicians to see internal injuries and disease in greater detail than ever before.

“The scanner is so fast that it can literally keep up with a beating heart,” said Swanson.“For trauma patients the Aquilion 64 may prove to be lifesaving technology by providing faster, more precise images of bones, organs and internal bleeding.”

“Physicians can see more anatomical information than previously was thought possible,” Swanson added.“We can diagnose problems like blood clots, infections and cancer in greater detail and with more clarity.We now have the ability to make an accurate diagnosis at earlier stages, which means that patients can begin receiving treatment sooner for potentially better outcomes.”

The system can be used to more accurately visualize soft plaque and measure coronary stenosis for the detection of heart disease. Another benefit of the Aquilion 64 design is that its detector features a highly efficient ceramic material that is able to reduce the overall radiation exposure to patients, as well as to hospital staff.

While CT uses X-ray technology, it is distinguished from other diagnostic imaging tools like traditional X-ray and MRI by its ability to display a combination of soft tissue (like muscles, tissue, organs and fat), bones and blood vessels all in a single image.Clinicians perform CT scans to diagnose kidney, lung, liver, spine, blood diseases, cancer, tumors and cysts, as well as blood clots, hemorrhages and infections.

The Aquilion 64 is designed to offer physicians greater diagnostic capabilities by helping patients avoid more invasive medical procedures.The system delivers unmatched multislice clinical images that capture up to 64 simultaneous anatomical slices of 0.5 mm in a single gantry rotation.

As a result, Toshiba's multislice technology captures precise images of the body's rapidly moving organs like the heart and lungs, which appear blurry when scanned by a traditional CT.Multislice imaging also is especially useful for examining patients who are unable to hold their breath, like trauma victims, acutely ill patients and young children.

Other Imaging Enhancements
The new hospital will have several other enhancements in medical imaging:
  • The new department will be 100 percent digital, making all images accessible by computer including mammography, nuclear medicine, X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI.
  • Two completely digital Xray rooms will be available, one in the medical imaging department and one in the adjoining medical office building, cutting exam times by 35 percent.
  • A new nuclear medicine dual-head camera will reduce scan time and improve image quality.
  • A new Women’s Imaging Center will offer bone density exams and breast imaging services (ultrasound and mammography).

About Platte Valley Medical Center
On July 10, PVMC opens its new $138 million regional medical center on a 50-acre campus. It is one of the only community-owned hospitals in the metro area, governed by a community board where decisions are made at a local level. PVMC is the only hospital within a 16-mile radius serving the northeast quadrant of metro Denver, projected to be the fastest-growing region in the metro area. Its immediate service area includes the communities of Brighton, Lochbuie, Ft. Lupton, Commerce City, Thornton, Henderson, Hudson and Keenesburg. Honored as a national award winner for exceeding patient expectations by Avatar International, Inc., PVMC offers excellent nurse-to-patient ratios to enhance one-on-one care, while utilizing an advanced level of technology. The original Brighton Community Hospital was founded 47 years ago by Brighton residents. The new regional medical center is located just west of I-76 between 144th Avenue and Bromley Lane at 1600 Prairie Center Parkway in Brighton, Colorado.

About Toshiba
With headquarters in Tustin, Calif., Toshiba America Medical Systems markets, sells, distributes and services diagnostic imaging systems, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research.Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, an independent group company of Toshiba Corporation, is a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, MRI and information systems.Toshiba Corporation is a leader in information and communications systems, electronic components, consumer products, and power systems.Toshiba has 172,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $62 billion.

Vantage and Aquilion are trademarks of Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation.

source: Platte Valley Medical Center