Of the three new scanners, the jewel in the crown (or perhaps we should say the Shamash candle in the menorah) is the SOMATOM Definition Flash, manufactured by Siemens. Equipped with two roentgen tubes (instead of the standard single tube), it is the world’s fastest, most accurate, lowest-dosage CT machine and can produce 1,500 slices within 4 seconds (and is 400 times faster than the machine at Rambam that it has replaced). Most importantly for patients’ health, it uses a tenth of the radiation used by older CT devices. Rambam uses the machine for both routine and sophisticated examination of cardiac and trauma patients and for such interventional procedures as biopsies.
Two novel and strong “workhorse” CT scanners, one produced by Siemens and the other by Philips, were also delivered to Rambam that night. They were already at work the next day performing various routine diagnostic tests and quick scans of trauma cases.
“CT is the most valuable and available intelligence tool for physicians today,” says Dr. Doron Fischer, Director of the CT Unit, explaining the significance of Rambam’s triple equipment acquisition. “Radiology is very technological, it progresses very quickly, and it’s more and more important in the medical world; we are involved in almost every diagnosis in the hospital.”
Statistics back him up: 50,000 CT scans were performed this year at Rambam (150 patients per day), and in Israel, the number is rising by 10-14% annually.
“In our profession, we are attempting to discern a delta––a difference––between normal tissue and a pathological lesion,” Dr. Fischer continues. “Every few years, there’s a technological jump; in 2012, it was multi-energy imaging. Siemens uses two roentgen tubes, which enables working in three different modes: one-tube operating mode (the normal mode for all CT devices), flash mode (two tubes working at the same energy level, which enables hyper fast scans), and dual-energy mode (two tubes working at two different energy levels, which enables complex analysis of tissue according to its chemical composition). I wanted Rambam to be among the institutions that use this technology and learn it and investigate it.”
That the doctor’s wish has been granted, and three of the world’s newest and best CT machines have come to Rambam at a time of severe budgetary constraints across the national health care system, is the kind of miracle only made possible by donors.
“I want to thank the donors,” he says. “You cannot operate a sophisticated medical center without an excellent imaging department and especially an excellent CT unit. It’s very important for patients because the better the medical intelligence, the better the medical treatment.”