Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Latest 3-D technology to save lives of trauma patients

    8/09/2005 12:00 AM

    Major trauma patients at Royal Perth Hospital’s emergency department will be assessed five times faster using the latest three-dimensional scanning technology to give doctors a better chance of saving lives.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said RPH would become the first hospital in Australia to have a dedicated 64-slice CT (Computer Tomography) scanner in its emergency department to help treat car accident victims, people with severe head injuries or deep-vein thrombosis.

    Mr McGinty said the $1.3million scanner would enable doctors to produce three-dimensional computer generated images of the internal organs of the body within minutes, instead of the hours using old technology.

    “Using the new 3-D scanner, nearly all areas of the body can be scanned at once, which will dramatically reduce the assessment time of major multi-trauma patients and allow doctors to treat the patients quicker,” he said.

    “When dealing with multi-trauma patients, doctors often refer to the golden hour - the critical time when the patient is brought into the emergency department.

    “The quicker patients are assessed and treated within that hour, the better their chance of survival.

    “This is a revolutionary way of assessing major trauma patients that will enable doctors to make a much more accurate diagnosis, and speed-up the time a patient is treated in the emergency department.

    “The old method of assessing multi-trauma patients could take hours, as doctors had to gather images of each individual area of the body.”

    One scan produced by the new 3-D technology could provide images of organs and soft tissue from all angles. Using the old one-slice scanner, doctors could only see a one-dimensional view of specific tissues and organs.

    “The three-dimensional images can also reduce the need for some invasive procedures used to view the heart, such as coronary angiograms and surgery, which are risky to very sick people,” Mr McGinty said.

    The Minister said the high-tech device had already been used to diagnose 20 trauma patients, saving some from exploratory surgery and improving their chances of survival.

    "The quicker diagnosis of patients' injuries and ailments will not only improve their survival and recovery, it will also mean other patients are treated sooner within the emergency department,” he said.

    A report into trauma at RPH released last week showed there were 3,629 trauma cases admitted to RPH last year. The report also revealed a 21.6 per cent increase in major trauma admissions at RPH, from 347 cases in 2003, to 422 in 2004.

    The new CT scanner comes on top of the State Government’s $12million plan to transform RPH into Western Australia's major trauma centre.

    The upgrade will involve the reconfiguration of trauma and burns facilities into a new state-of-the-art trauma facility.

    Mr McGinty said dedicated trauma beds would open early next year, and a team of trauma specialists had already begun working with patients.

    “Concentrating the State's trauma resources and expertise into one hospital will ensure that patients receive the highest level of care from WA's most experienced health professionals using the latest cutting-edge technology,” he said.

    “This redevelopment of RPH into a world-class trauma facility shows the Gallop Government is committed to improving the quality of services to all Western Australians.”

    Minister's office: 9220 5000