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Wood River Hospital Gets Idaho’s First Top of the Line Scanner
St. Luke’s Wood River has the most advanced Nuclear Medicine scanner on the market. COURTESY: Joy Prudek
Monday, July 8, 2024


A new state-of-the-art Nuclear Medicine Spect Computer Tomography (CT) Scanner is now in place at St. Luke’s Wood River hospital.

The new technology is the first of its kind in Idaho. It provides advanced imaging for stroke, trauma and cancer patients, assessing and diagnosing such conditions as tumors, infections, organ function and blood circulation.

St. Luke’s Health System provided nearly a million dollars for the purchase of a 32-slice Nuclear Medicine Spect CT, as well as the expense related to construction at the hospital. St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation raised an additional $660,000 to upgrade the technology to a 64-slice Nuclear Medicine Spect, which is the most advanced technology available.

The Foundation money was made possible by donors.

“This enhanced CT capacity helps with quick decision making for emergency patients in the case of a multiple patient trauma or a stroke. We couldn’t be more excited to have this advanced imaging technology, which also serves as a second CT scanner machine, doubling the hospital’s capacity for care,” said Dr. Brock Bemis, medical director of SLWR Emergency Department.

A CT scanner helps Emergency Department physicians promptly and accurately evaluate patients who have suffered potential strokes, traumatic injuries and other problems. The Nuclear Medicine scanner creates a 64-slice high resolution anatomical image to form a three-dimensional view of a patient’s anatomy. That can help doctors see blood flow activity in the brain to see what parts of the brain are being affected by clogged blood vessels, among other things

“This is the only 64-slice nuclear medicine Spect CT that can serve as a nuclear camera and also serve as a backup CT unit, with the same diagnostic and quality abilities as our current scanner,” said Kandis Pedersen, director of Imaging Services at St. Luke’s Wood River.  “For stroke patients each minute counts for the patient outcome. Having the ability to have a backup scanner here is paramount so the patient can have the best outcome possible.”

The new CT will also allow doctors to treat most of the hospital’s nuclear medicine patients that require Spect imaging at the Wood River Hospital. Previously many patients, including those with cancer for whom travel is difficult, needed to travel to hospitals in Twin Falls or Boise for those scans.

“When patients receive care closer to home it reduces total cost of care and leads to better experiences and outcomes. This elevates the level of care available to the residents and visitors of the Wood River Valley,” said Pedersen.

Pete Smith, president of the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation Board of Directors, said the board is grateful to its donors for recognizing how important it was to make the cutting-edge imaging technology  available at St. Luke’s Wood River.

To learn more about St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation, contact Betsy Mullins, the development manager at mullinse@slhs.org or 208-727-8419.

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