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QEII installs first nuclear imaging machine of it’s kind in Canada

By Evan Taylor Jun 4, 2024 | 3:22 PM

The QEII has installed its new StarGuide SPECT/CT scanner, a cutting-edge piece of nuclear imaging equipment.

The machine made by General Electric is the latest generation of CT scanners.

CT scanners are nothing new to Nova Scotian hospitals, but Dr. Steven Burrell, head of nuclear medicine at the QEII says the new machines boast a handful of benefits.

“Nuclear imaging is where we inject radiopharmaceuticals called tracers into people and image where that went,” Burrell explained. “Unlike previous generations, these machines are purpose-built to produce 3D images, which give us a clearer look at what’s inside.”

The StarGuide SPECT/CT scanner is able to do this as its sensors are set up in a circle that goes all the way around patients, unlike previous generations where the sensors would be rotated to produce a lower-quality 3D image.

The sensors have also improved in other ways allowing for faster scans with less radiation.

“For patients, it’s great because previous scans could take between fifteen minutes to an hour, and this machine can cut those times in half,”.

In cases where patients are in pain, Burrell says lying still for long periods can be difficult, so by having shorter scans patients should experience less discomfort, reducing the likelihood they will move, degrading image quality.

Staff at the QEII posing with the new StarGuide SPECT/CT machine. Photo: Uncharted Media Inc .

QEII CEO, Susan Mullin says having the new machine also bolsters the hospitals’ ability to recruit and retain doctors.

“People want to work where the latest technology is so having this machine is not only exciting for our existing staff it’s also something that will attract the next generation of doctors,” Mullin said.

The machine is also expected to be used for training by students at Dalhousie’s medical school, as well as resident doctors working at the hospital.

The first patient scans are expected to begin by the end of June as calibration and training are completed.

A second machine is set to be installed at the VG Hospital in 2025.