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QHC first in Canada with new equipment to diagnose heart disease

Residents in the Quinte region now have access to state-of-the-art equipment used to diagnose coronary disease and identify patients at risk of heart attacks.

Quinte Health Care (QHC) will be the first hospital in Canada with the latest generation of nuclear cardiology cameras.  Supplied by U.S. based Spectrum Dynamics, the D-SPECT camera produces a faster scanning time and lower doses of radiation than traditional cardiac nuclear cameras, while producing sharper images.  The system adjusts the length of the scan according to the size of the patient and the dose administered to produce a consistently high image quality.

“QHC will be bringing our patients a faster, more convenient and much more pleasant experience,” said Dr. Rene Barette, head of the division of Nuclear Medicine in the Department of Diagnostic Imaging.  “No longer having to lie flat will make the test easier for those with breathing issues.  The smaller device with its open line of sight for the patient should be far better tolerated by those with claustrophobia.  The system can accommodate larger patients upwards of 500lbs.”

The D-SPECT camera at QHC Belleville General is eight times faster than the conventional version currently in use.  “This provides the flexibility to tailor the images to the specific patient.  For instance, a patient who has trouble staying still can be imaged in as little as two minutes, an average patient could benefit from imaging in half the regular time with a quarter of the regular radiation dose while an otherwise fit patient could be imaged for the regular length of time with an 88% reduction in dose,” added Dr. Barette.

Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) is the most frequently used procedure for the diagnosis of coronary disease and identifying patients at risk of heart attacks. It is particularly useful in individuals at a moderate risk of disease.  QHC will perform about 2000 of these scans per year.

The equipment, at a cost of approximately $500,000, was paid for by the Foundations that support Quinte Health Care, through donations from community members.

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