Impact Spotlight: First in Canada SPECT/CT bringing best possible care closer to home

A medical radiation technologist demonstrates a SPECT/CT machine

Did you know that with the help of donors, in 2019 PRHC invested in a cutting-edge new SPECT/CT machine that was the first of its kind in Canada? This state-of-the-art technology represented the biggest leap forward in nuclear medicine in over a decade.

Since its installation made possible by donor generosity, the new SPECT/CT has scanned approximately 2,000 patients a year, providing PRHC’s experts with detailed 3D images so they can more clearly identify and pinpoint the site of any abnormality, particularly tumours, diagnose and stage cancer, and determine how patients’ treatments are progressing.

SPECT/CT uses two types of scans that when combined, allow doctors to gather more precise information about a specific part of the body. Scans with this machine are higher quality, take less time and use less radiation than the machine it replaced. For patients this means a more precise and timely diagnosis, and a more comfortable and safe procedure.

“PRHC has been on the leading edge, using advanced technology like SPECT/CT to bring the best possible care closer to home for our region’s residents,” says PRHC Nuclear Medicine Charge Technologist Brad Plain. “This equipment allows us to obtain the best quality images possible in a much shorter period, helping patients feel less anxiety and discomfort during the process, and helping doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions sooner.”

Impact Spotlight: X-Ray Trauma Suites

A medical radiation technologist prepares to X-Ray a patient

Three years ago, Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation donors made it possible for the hospital to make a $1.1 million investment in two new X-Ray Trauma Suites in the Diagnostic Imaging department. In constant use, the previous suites were worn out, the equipment was out of date, and they were no longer able to keep pace with the high demand for X-Rays, almost half of which were supporting the diagnosis and care of Emergency Department patients. PRHC’s Emergency Department is one of the busiest in the province.

At the time the new suites were installed, PRHC’s Chief & Medical Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Mark Troughton, explained why having new, up-to-date equipment is so important to the care of patients:

“When older technology starts to break down, it causes delays in patient diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Troughton. “We knew we couldn’t afford to let that happen – not in a department with patients in urgent need, when minutes or even seconds can mean the difference between life and death.”

Dr. Troughton and the technologists who work with the equipment also explained that the new technology wasn’t replacing like with like. Upgrades in technology mean that the new suites feature equipment that is faster, smaller and more portable.

Three years later, the new suites continue to be in high demand and allow PRHC’s experts to provide quicker, safer care to patients. In the last year, 32,000 exams were conducted in the X-Ray Trauma Suites, with the majority performed in the care of Emergency Department patients, who may be experiencing great pain and distress.

The PRHC team members who use these suites every day to provide great care, say they’ve seen a lot of benefits with the advanced equipment.

The updated technology allows the equipment to be positioned around the patient, meaning that patient has to be moved less throughout the exam. The older equipment required much more movement of the patient to facilitate an X-Ray at the necessary place on the body, causing them further discomfort. The auto-positioning feature of the equipment also makes an exam faster for the patient and safer for the technologists, who have to do less manual maneuvering of the equipment.   

The wireless detectors used in the suites to achieve certain views during an exam, display an image right away, which also helps decrease exam time for the patient. The less time a patient spends being examined, the less discomfort they’ll feel.

All of these advancements in X-Ray technology improve diagnostic quality, too, providing clear imaging quickly to staff, to support fast, accurate diagnoses and treatment.

PRHC’s healthcare workers are so appreciative of the incredible donor support that is helping them provide excellent patient care every day. “Having timely access to the best equipment available is central to providing the highest quality patient care,” says Dr. Troughton. “On behalf of those patients and everyone here at PRHC, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who supports our critical fundraising priorities, like the X-Ray Trauma Suites.”

Thank you, from PRHC’s President & CEO

PRHC President & CEO, Dr. Peter McLaughlin

“We are fortunate to have some of the most hardworking, caring and dedicated people on our team at PRHC, and a wonderful community supporting us here in the Peterborough region.

On behalf of your hospital, I would like to acknowledge and thank our patients and their families; our leaders, healthcare professionals, staff and volunteers; our partners in the community and region for your ongoing insights, collaboration and support; and the PRHC Foundation and through them, our generous donors.

I’m thankful for the role you play in keeping PRHC at the cutting-edge of patient care. Your generosity is putting the right tools in the hands of our healthcare teams, so they can save lives, and it’s helping us bring groundbreaking new services to our region.”