Australian-first CT scanner to transform delivery of trauma and cardiac services

The first SOMATOM X.cite in Australia has been installed at Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service, providing the South Australian community with more centralised access to level one trauma and precision medicine services like cardiac CT.

Operated by Benson Radiology, the CT scan machine from leading medical technology company Siemens Healthineers will equip the hospital with high-end diagnostic technology to perform cardiac CT angiograms for the first time in the region. Paired with cinematic rendering, this powerful technique for producing images of the heart and its blood vessels will bring to life 3-D models of complex cardiac conditions. In 2018, around one in nine South Australians aged 18 years or older were living with cardiovascular disease (CVD), [1] with hospitalisations for CVD affecting around 9.5% of the Mount Gambier population from 2010  2015.[2]

The new installation has the potential to reduce the need for vulnerable patients to travel to Adelaide or Melbourne for essential cardiac and trauma services. The system has the capacity to scan up to 50 to 60 patients a day across a range of conditions from sinus infections to more advanced procedures such as oncology and stroke imaging.

The machine’s larger gantry bore size of 82 cm, powerful x-ray tube, and highly efficient detectors will ensure all patients regardless of weight and height can be accommodated for any scan. As the largest diagnostic CT bore on the market, the system’s patient-friendly design is expected to transform the patient’s experience and comfort as well as assisting Benson Radiology‘s staff delivering the service.

The CT scanner’s tin filter technology performs ultra low dose, high-quality imaging much like an x-ray, enabling the delivery of more accurate results at a faster rate. A unique paediatric package means that children can be scanned as well with a lower dose.

Benson Radiology‘s staff will also benefit from the unique integrated interactive software solution, myExam Companion, performing key tasks in the background to allow technologists to focus on the patient. With the scanner able to be operated through a mobile tablet, staff can perform key scan prepartion steps by the patient’s side and leave the room only when the scanner is exposing radiation.

Benson Radiology’s Managing Partner, Dr Dale Alison, said the new CT system will provide life-saving care to a region of South Australia that has had limited accessibility to such services.

“The installation of the SOMATOM X.cite comes at a time when we are experiencing an increased pressure on the public health system. There has been a trend towards using CT systems to diagnose a number of conditions, faster and more accurately.

“We’re proud to be the first hospital in the country with this system, which will expand local treatment options for the Mount Gambier community and reduce the need to travel to major metropolitan hospitals to seek medical treatment. The SOMATOM X.cite provides a full service and more comfortable scanning experience for the people of Mount Gambier,“ he said.

Michael Shaw, Managing Director, Siemens Healthineers ANZ, said that the installation signifies a new wave of CT technology in the Australian healthcare system.

“The SOMATOM X.cite will equip Mount Gambier doctors and nurses with a state of the art diagnostic service to assess a greater variety of patients and tailor treatment to the individual, bringing precision medicine to more people in areas of unmet need. As the busiest SOMATOM X.cite globally, Mount Gambier is at the forefront of the nation in using smarter CT scanning to make a meaningful difference to patients‘ treatment experience.“

Siemens Healthineers AG (listed in Frankfurt, Germany: SHL) is shaping the future of Healthcare. As a leading medical technology company headquartered in Erlangen, Germany, Siemens Healthineers enables healthcare providers worldwide through its regional companies to increase value by empowering them on their journey towards expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, improving the patient experience, and digitalizing healthcare. Siemens Healthineers is continuously developing its product and service portfolio, with AI-supported applications and digital offerings that play an increasingly important role in the next generation of medical technology. These new applications will enhance the company’s foundation in in-vitro diagnostic, image-guided therapy, and in-vivo diagnostics. Siemens Healthineers also provides a range of services and solutions to enhance healthcare providers’ ability to provide high-quality, efficient care to patients. In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, Siemens Healthineers, which has approximately 52,000 employees worldwide, generated revenue of €14.5 billion and adjusted profit of €2.5 billion.

Benson Radiology

Benson Radiology is one of Australia’s largest, privately-owned radiology practices, with 25 clinics located across South Australia. Founded in 1958 by Dr W H Benson, the practice uses state-of-the-art equipment to provide a wide range of diagnostic radiology and imaging services. With nearly 50 radiologists and more than 500 staff, Benson Radiology takes pride in providing the highest standards of patient care.

[1] Government of South Australia,  Cardiovascular disease prevalence. Available from: https://www.hpcsa.com.au/state_of_our_health/chapter_4/4_6

[2] SA Health, South Australian Aboriginal Heart and Stroke Plan 2017-2021. Available from: https://www.sahmriresearch.org/user_assets/4cdcbcbfec5f59d5a61ba8dec42b9685161d62c8/sa_aboriginal_cardiovascular_health_profile_2016_final_20160630.pdf

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