Diagnostic & Interventional CT

Revolutionary 128-slice, Ultra-low Dose CT Technology at SIR

First in the State of Florida

Sarasota Interventional Radiology (SIR) transformed imaging technology in Florida as the first facility in the state to install the 128-slice, ultra-low dose CT, the SCENARIA from Hitachi. SIR selected this revolutionary CT scanner because of its technological sophistication and with the patient’s safety and comfort in mind. The scanner was designed with dose-reduction technologies that provide the lowest amount of radiation exposure possible, and it has the most advanced clinical capabilities and unique features to provide a notably more comfortable experience for all patients. These features include:

  • Lowest radiation exposure possible (over 80% lower than other current technology)
  • Highest image quality
  • Fastest scan times
  • Large opening and wide, lateral shifting table to maximize patient comfort and reduce anxiety
  • Accommodating for patients up to 550 lbs.

SIR’s new CT scanner is used for a number of diagnostic and screening procedures, all performed at SIR’s state-of-the-art outpatient facility.

CT Diagnostic Procedures

Common diagnostic CT procedures performed at SIR include the following:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Spine—cervical, thoracic, lumbar
  • Extremities— wrist, hand, ankle, foot

CT Screening Exams

Today’s more health-conscious society is concerned about disease prevention and looks to screening exams for early detection of disease. Screening exams are performed to find evidence of disease before symptoms occur, the goal being to detect disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. SIR promptly sends results of the exams to the patient’s primary care physician for appropriate follow-up.

At SIR, screening exams do not require a prescription or physician referral, so patients may schedule their own screening exams. Insurance may not cover the cost of self-scheduled exams, but it is possible that screening exams will be covered by insurance if the patient gets a diagnosis from a referring physician. It is advisable for patients to check with their insurance company directly to see if the procedure will be covered by insurance.

Lung Screening with Ultra-low Dose CT

SIR is Accredited by the American College of Radiology

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and is responsible for about 13% of all new cancers. For men, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer; for women, breast cancer ranks first. For both men and women, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, accounting for about 27% of all cancer deaths. Estimates by the American Cancer Society for new cases of lung cancer in 2015 are:

  • Men—115,610
  • Women—105,590
  • Total New Cases—221,200

Lung cancer survival depends greatly on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Those diagnosed at early stages have a greater chance of survival and may even be cured. It is common knowledge that smoking is the leading risk for lung cancer, causing about 80% of lung cancer deaths. Other risk factors include exposure to radon, asbestos, other cancer-causing agents, air pollution, and radiation therapy to the lungs.

Chest x-ray or chest CT scans may detect lung cancer, usually when symptoms have already occurred. On the other hand, screening exams may detect lung cancer in high-risk individuals who have no current signs or symptoms. A lung cancer screening test can help lower the risk of death because the cancer is found early, before symptoms appear. Screening for lung cancer with a low-dose CT has emerged as the preferred screening exam because it:

  • Generates more detailed pictures and is better at finding small lung abnormalities than a chest x-ray
  • Uses lower amounts of radiation than a conventional chest CT and does not require the use of IV contrast

SIR uses the ultra-low dose CT scanning technology of the Hitachi SCENARIA to produce high quality cross-sectional images that detect many lung diseases and abnormalities, while using up to 90% less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan. SIR is the only facility in the tri-county area (Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties in Florida) that uses this ultra-low dose radiation technology.

Guidelines regarding candidates for the low-dose CT lung screening exam have been issued by the American Cancer Society. Patients should meet the following criteria:

  • Between 55 and 74 years of age
  • Fairly good health
  • History of smoking at least one pack per day for 30 years
  • Still smoking or quit within the last 15 years

Potential candidates should discuss the benefits, limitations, and potential harms of lung cancer screening with their physicians. Current smokers you should seek counseling about smoking cessation programs and need to understand that screening is not a good alternative to smoking cessation.

CT lung screening is now covered by health insurance for all patients aged 50 and higher (some plans cover at age 45 and higher). SIR is the only accredited facility that can provide the CT lung screening, a PET/CT scan (if the lung screening is positive), and a lung biopsy (if necessary) in an outpatient setting.

Colorectal Screening (Virtual Colonoscopy)

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death among non-smokers. It can be silent for a long time but, when detected early, the survival rate is greater than 90%. Colorectal Screening, or Virtual Colonoscopy, detects polyps or adenomas that may be precursors to cancer. It is a viable alternative to conventional colonoscopy, which cannot be tolerated by some individuals or may be perceived as too uncomfortable, inconvenient, or time-consuming.

Advantages of Virtual Colonoscopy include:

  • Noninvasive
  • Quick and convenient
  • Excellent visualization of the colon
  • Performed without sedation
  • No disruption in normal activities after the test

Heart Screening

SIR’s 128-slice, ultra-low dose CT scanner has cardiac imaging capability, and SIR performs Calcium Scoring, Coronary CTA, CT Wall Motion Study, and CT Arteriogram.

Calcium Scoring

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among adults over age 35, killing about one million

Americans every year. The disease is silent for many years, before any symptoms occur. Calcium Scoring is a screening procedure done to detect the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. It is an excellent predictor of a cardiovascular event, and there are no false positives with this test.

Known by several other names—CT Heart Screening, Cardiac CT for Coronary Calcium, Coronary Calcium Scan, Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring—Calcium Scoring determines if there is any calcification in the coronary arteries. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain calcium, so the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries may be a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that increases the risk of heart attack. Calcium Scoring is one of the most effective ways to detect early coronary calcification before symptoms occur.

Calcium Scoring, done by SIR’s 128-slice, ultra-low dose CT scan, takes pictures of the heart in thin sections. It requires no advance preparation and is noninvasive, extremely safe, and painless. The result of the scan is called a calcium score and provides valuable information about the presence, location, and extent of calcium in the coronary arteries. With the calcium score, physicians are better able to assist patients with making lifestyle changes to reduce their risk for developing CAD.

Cardiac CT Angiography (CTA)

CTA is a noninvasive heart imaging test performed to evaluate the location and extent of coronary artery stenosis (narrowing of the coronary artery). The images generated by the CTA are high-resolution, three-dimensional pictures of the moving heart and vessels and show plaque that has built up in the coronary artery.

The CT Wall Motion Study, part of the Cardiac CTA, analyzes cardiac function by providing information about the heart’s ability to pump blood. A series of images is produced, showing how blood travels through the heart. During each beat, the amount of blood pumped by the heart is calculated so that the strength of the heart muscle can be evaluated.