N.S. News: Halifax hospital unveils cutting-edge nuclear medicine technology

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The QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax unveiled new cutting-edge nuclear medicine technology Monday.


Described as a “first in Canada,” members of the QEII Foundation, representatives from the nuclear medicine division, and Nova Scotia Health unveiled the first StarGuide SPEC/CT scanner.


Designed and manufactured by GE HealthCare, the technology gives health-care providers in the nuclear medicine department the latest and most advanced diagnostic imagining tool possible to help locate and diagnose diseases like cancer and heart disease in the body earlier and with more precision.


The new technology is more efficient than previous diagnostic scanners and health-care providers say it will lead to better health outcomes for patients.


“We are thrilled to be working with the QEII Foundation to bring this world-leading technology to the patients of Nova Scotia,” said Dr. James Clarke, chief of diagnostic imaging with Nova Scotia Health.


“This investment will revitalize our Nuclear Medicine program and allow us to provide cutting edge diagnostics in many fields, including cardiac and cancer imaging, impacting approximately 4,000 patients annually,” said Clarke.


The QEII Foundation split the $6 million cost with Nova Scotia Health.


The first StarGuide machine arrived at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in late May and will begin taking images and scans within the next week. The second machine will arrive in 2025.


Susan Mullin, president and CEO of the QEII Foundation, says the technology is being hailed as a “game changer.”


“This technology will make a huge difference in patients’ lives,” said Mullin. “To help in particular with cancer care and heart disease.”


Catching cancer and heart disease earlier means better outcomes for patients, which Mullin said is part of what makes this announcement significant for patients.


“It’s also faster for patients and particularly for patients that have bone cancer, as that can really be uncomfortable,” said Mullin. “So the shorter the time they can spend in the scanner the better, just from a whole comfort level standpoint.”


The new technology will improve efficiency and allow for a greater number of scans to be performed annually.


“On a given day I suspect we’ll go from doing 10 to 12 (scans) to 15 to 20 scans per day,” said Dr. Steven Burrell, section head of nuclear medicine at QEII Health Sciences Centre. “That will greatly help our wait list.”


Burrell calls the nuclear medicine device a “quantum leap” forward in terms of technology.


It will not only mean faster scans for patients, it also gives health-care staff better tools which helps with retention and recruiting.


“It‘s like a win-win-win,” said Burrell. “There’s nothing but benefits.”


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