The first patient to be scanned by the Royal United Hospital’s new gamma camera, the first of its kind in the country, has praised the camera as an ‘amazing machine’.
The hospital’s new Veriton digital (solid-state) gamma camera reduces scanning time for patients while creating clearer images which help with diagnosis.
David Cherrie, 69, from Salisbury, was at the RUH for a full-body scan and was the first patient to use the new gamma camera.
He said: “It’s an amazing machine. I felt fine during the scan, although I can imagine some people might feel a bit nervous and claustrophobic at times. The staff were great and made me comfortable and relaxed.”
Joy Ganotisi, the Senior Nuclear Medicine Technician who carried out the scan, said: “It was the first time we’ve used this scanner, and it was very exciting. We’ve had lots of training and we’re all looking forward to using it now and giving our patients a good experience.”
Funding for the new equipment was only made possible thanks to the generosity of the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group (BCUSG), which donated £340,000 towards its purchase, in addition to the other equipment and facilities it already helps to fund for the RUH’s cancer patients.
In addition to the new technology, which is housed in the RUH’s Clinical Imaging and Measurement department, the department’s camera examination room has been refurbished to provide a modern, bright, comfortable space for patients to be scanned in.
Consultant Medical Physicist Martyn Evans said: “This scanner has been a long time in the planning and preparation stages and I’m delighted that we have now reached the point where we have scanned our first patient.
“The image quality is just exceptional and gives us a whole new level of detail which will allow us to identify cancer and other conditions even more accurately.
“I’m grateful to all who contributed to getting us to this point, especially the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group who contributed the additional funds which made it possible for us to afford this cutting edge technology.”
BCUSG chairman Mike Taylor added: “The BCUSG is delighted to have been able to help modernise the cancer treatment facilities at the RUH.
“Not only will the new gamma camera further improve the treatment of patients, it will also enable doctors to scan a greater number of people than before.”
Peter Dobson, CEO of Link Medical Limited, said: “Veriton-CT is a major advance in imaging technology with much shorter imaging times combined with significant improvements in image quality. I would like to thank all of the team at RUH and also to BCUSG for their generous support.”
When patients attend the Clinical Imaging and Measurement department for a scan, they are injected with a slightly radioactive material, called a ‘tracer’, that is taken up by cells in the part of the body that is being scanned.
The tracer then emits gamma photons which are detected by the specialist camera (a gamma camera) to build up an image.
The Veriton system uses 12 digital detectors mounted on robotic arms that trace the contours of the patient. Each detector can swivel allowing the camera to be focused on specific areas in the body.
This data is then used to complete a detailed image through the part of the body under investigation.
To donate to the Bath Cancer Unit Support Group, or to discuss becoming a corporate partner, email Alan Webb at [email protected] or phone 07896 741233.