A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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Heritage: The Story of St. Mary's Hospital, 1880-1980
By Leo G. Bryne and Sister Alberta Cammack, C.S.J

Chapter III Contemporary St. Mary's
Computerized Tomography Department

The Computerized Tomography Department, which formally opened on June 20, 1979, possesses one of medicine's newest instruments. Working quickly, efficiently and painlessly, the CT Scanner provides physicians with new dimensions in patient diagnosis, producing cross-sectional images of body tissue and providing a visual display, helpful in detecting tumors, infarctions, hemorrhages, subdural hematomas and intra-cranial bleeding.

By combining X-ray with computers to form highly accurate images of a patient's brain, the machine enables physicians to peer into the head in a non-invasive manner to detect the minute changes in tissue density that define healthy from diseased or damaged tissues.

While the patient lies on a special couch with the head inserted in the center of the machine known as the gantry, the X-ray beam within the machine shoots across and through the patient's head, scanning beneath to decrease radiation to the eyes. The X-ray tube rotates 180 degrees, starting at the base of the brain and proceeding to the vertex. It produces one scan in approximately two minutes. The X-ray detectors on the opposite side convert the beams into numbers which are translated into eleven to thirteen cross-sectional pictures on a computer screen. The entire procedure lasts twenty-five to thirty minutes. In addition, the computer is capable of recording thousands of bits of information which can be recalled for future use by physicians and radiologists.

Keeping up with the demand for specialized equipment, St. Mary's X-ray Department contains its own daylight processor for the immediate developing of films for emergency cases. Special tables have floating tops which glide easily and smoothly into various positions. TV image intensifiers give immediate viewing for arteriographic, venographic and arthrographic studies together with the fluoroscopic procedures.

Continue with Chapter III: Contemporary St. Mary's Ultrasound Scanner

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