by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | August 05, 2020
Siemens Healthineers announced today FDA approval of a new mobile CT scanner that has the potential to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in hospitals.
The SOMATOM On.site mobile head CT scanner can image critically ill patients in the ICU without requiring them to leave their bed. Standard CT systems require staff to transport these patients to the radiology department, which poses significant risks.
“The minute that patient leaves their room, they are no longer in their isolation bubble,” Dena Cunningham, business development manager for mobile CT at Siemens, told HCB News. “Now they’re introduced to infection risk while they’re being transported.”
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Sometimes up to five people, including a physician, are needed to transport these patients to the radiology department for their daily head scans. Aside from the infection risk, patient lines and/or ventilation tubes could be pulled out during transportation.
Cunningham noted the importance of also reducing infection risk among other patients frequenting the radiology department and staff. Keeping critically ill patients in the ICU could dramatically lower that risk.
The SOMATOM On.site first debuted at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting in November. According to Cunningham, a lot of hospitals expressed interest in the system and the company is eager to get it to hospitals that believe it will benefit them in the era of COVID.
“There are a lot of hospitals that are on budget freezes right now, but because this is considered such a unique product that can help take care of patients better by keeping them in their room, they’re talking about using emergency funding from the hospitals to purchase something like this,” she added.
While developing the system, Siemens put customer feedback at the forefront. Their customers asked for a mobile system that includes many components of the company’s standard CT systems.
The SOMATOM On.site is a 32-slice system that features a high-end Stellar detector. Cunningham explained that because of that, it can provide “reliable and consistent image quality” when looking at the tiny vessels of the brain.
The system comes with the company’s myExam Companion intelligent user interface to help the technologist achieve consistent results, and an integrated drive camera that the technologist can view in real time on the built-in Touch UI display.
The system’s telescopic gantry design moves the radiation source away from the patient during the exam while ensuring the base and front cover of the gantry remain stationary. Front and back radiation shields have also been incorporated to reduce scatter radiation.
“We listened to what the customers want and what they’re used to with our other products, to incorporate that into something that’s mobile,” said Cunningham.