An imaging first

LHSC first hospital in Canada to offer MiniCat imaging, drastically reducing time to diagnoses for otology patients

LONDON HEALTH SCIENCES Centre has a shiny new device that they say is drastically reducing the wait time for test results for any patient who needs a CT scan.

It’s called the MiniCat, and LHSC “is the first hospital in Canada to offer otology patients fast and accurate results through medical imaging technology that decreases the time to diagnosis from up to two months to approximately 20 minutes.”

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The device has been in use since April of this year, and “the department is already seeing a noticeable impact for patients,” the hospital says.

The device works by targeting specific areas of the head and neck, and the hospital says it is particularly useful for patients who are getting their inner ears checked. “Patients can make use of this machine on the same day as their initial appointments, which eliminates the need for a a CT scan,” a press release reads.

CT scan wait times are nothing to shake a stick at. The average wait time before the pandemic, according to the Canadian Association of Radiologists, was 50 to 82 days for a test, plus the time to get a result. Covid hasn’t made that any quicker, either.

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“In addition to the shorter wait times, this technology delivers drastically less radiation exposure than a traditional CT scan ― our former standard ― and provides better resolution images, allowing for more precise and timely diagnosis,” says Dr. Lorne Parnes, a surgeon at LHSC. “The benefits for our patient population are numerous.”

The device came courtesy of a significant gift from Tom Allison, a former patient of Dr. Parnes (and, in 2010, was named Ontario’s Senior of the Year). Allison, along with his wife Dorothy, have been major supporters of the hospital over the years, making donations totalling more than $1 million.

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“I know first-hand the wait times to have a CT done, and that wait feels unbearable,” says Allison. “My only hope for the gift was to make a difference for future patients needing treatment.”

“We’re incredibly grateful for donors like Tom Allison, for investing in innovative health care technology that we know will improve patient outcomes,” says Dr. Sumit Agrawal, surgeon-scientist with LHSC’s Otolaryngology department. “The MiniCAT allows us to obtain accurate images of electrodes in cochlear implant recipients and by analyzing these electrodes, our group can use patient-specific anatomy to ‘tune’ the implants, which potentially allows for better sound quality, speech understanding, and music appreciation.” An imaging first imaging Medical Devices Kieran Delamont

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