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Scanners able to generate the most detailed images of the human body ever seen could be rolled out across the NHS, improving outcomes for patients with a range of diseases.

Scientists at the University of Oxford have been using a new type of CT (computed tomography) scanner that detects individual x-ray photons to build high-resolution images of the interior of a patient’s body. The machine, created by Siemens Healthineers, has been used on 2,500 patients at the John Radcliffe Hospital and is now doctors’ first choice for check-ups on cardiac patients.

Professor Charalambos Antoniades, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the university, is leading a study he hopes will prove to the NHS that the scanners are worth their considerable investment. He said the new machine hardly compared to a traditional CT scanner. “It’s like going from riding a bicycle to driving a Porsche. Since we started doing this it has completely transformed the way we manage patients.”

The new scanners produce images of a resolution down to 0.2mm compared with 1mm before, meaning doctors can see the fine details of cancerous tumours, small blood vessels in the brain, heart and lungs, and even spot clumps of plaque building up in the wall of arteries.

The first x-ray image was taken in 1895, allowing doctors to see inside patients’ bodies for the first time. Those early plates radically improved the diagnosis and treatment of a huge range of health issues. CT scanners, which combined x-rays with computer technology to create detailed images of internal organs, were developed in the 1970s and have since become a mainstay of modern medicine. About 400 million CT scans are carried out every year across the world.

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Source: The Times

Date: 4 March

Posted in News on Mar 04, 2024

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