DMH News

Decatur Memorial Hospital Installs Newest Level in Diagnostic Technology


September 4, 2007...Decatur Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in Illinois to install the new Philips Precedence SPECT/CT system.

The new SPECT/CT provides three-dimensional computerized images that show actual metabolic body function deep within the body. The technology expands diagnostic and screening capabilities by combining nuclear medicine with multi-slice CT imaging.

With the new SPECT/CT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) system, Decatur Memorial Hospital can obtain more advanced clinical images that may help lead to potentially life-saving treatment options or rule out serious medical conditions. SPECT is particularly effective in heart, brain and cancer applications. Non-SPECT nuclear exams, often called planar studies, are effective for bone, thyroid, and kidney imaging.

“With the new system, SPECT studies can now be automatically fused with multi-slice CT images taken during one patient sitting,” said Mark Muscato, MD, DMH Diagnostic Radiologist. “Incorporating the CT image data allows physicians to better view structural, or anatomic, detail, such as the location of and changes in tissue. Functional “hot spots” (SPECT) fused with images of corresponding structural tissue (CT) can reveal disease states before structural change occurs.” “This improved diagnostic confidence may alter the course of action and have a positive impact on patient outcomes,” said James Wade III, M.D., Medical Director, DMH Medical Oncology. “Combining nuclear imaging and CT is helping physicians to make more informed decisions in the evaluation of cancer and other diseases. For instance, a patient may be able to avoid a biopsy or an invasive surgical procedure.”

During a SPECT/CT scan, a radioactive tracer is administered to the patient. When the radioactive isotope decays, it emits gamma rays that are then processed by the system’s gamma camera. These gamma rays help to form the clinical images that will reveal functional activity inside that part of the body. A CT scan is also performed with the patient in the same position. The SPECT and CT images are then fused into one image, providing physicians simultaneous viewing of metabolism and structure.

Decatur Memorial Hospital is pleased to be able to offer this important improvement in healthcare to its patients. DMH continues to provide patients with the most diagnostic technology at the highest level in the Decatur area.