Critically ill neuro-care patients need CT scans, sometimes on a daily basis. A recently published study shows that the infection rate can considerably be reduced by using mobile CT scanners. We asked study-author Dr. John Halperin, Chair of the Department of Neurosciences at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey.
Mr. Halperin, what was the output of the investigation, conducted in Overlook’s Comprehensive Stroke Center?
We decreased total HAIs by 53 percent over 18 months. Key drivers were decreased urinary catheter use and decreased patient transport from the ICU for imaging.
This are really valuable insights. Do other departments of neurosciences in other hospitals also work now with mobile CT scanners?
Everybody is pushing to decrease use of urinary catheters. As far as the mobile scanners are concerned, use is variable. The image quality is not as good as the standard scanners used in the most large hospital radiology departments (this is a technical limitation related to the need for the mobile scanner to be rather compact) and while many neuro ICUs own them, they are often under-utilized. Largely because up until now people didn’t see a compelling advantage, other than convenience, that outweighed the difference in image quality. The reason we published this was to show there was a real benefit.
For which other medical areas (where CT scans are often used) the introduction of a mobile CT scanner could be helpful as well?
One could in theory use scanners for trauma patients or other ICU patients. The problem there is that to image the body requires a substantially larger scanner (the body has to fit in it instead of just the head) so this decreases the convenience factor considerably.