April 1, 2020 — United Imaging, a global leader in advanced medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment, is preparing to deploy readily transportable computed tomography (CT) scanners in the United States to help in the fight against COVID-19, said a company spokesperson. United Imaging began working on new solutions for the U.S. after seeing the demands placed on its teams in China and Europe. Even while some debate how CT will be used for COVID-19 patients in this country, the company is prepared.
"We knew from the experience of our colleagues that certain characteristics of a CT that can be installed quickly could be particularly helpful in these circumstances. We also had a lot of confidence we could execute that very, very rapidly," said Jeffrey Bundy, CEO of United Imaging in the U.S.
Among these characteristics beyond the rapid install is a higher slice/faster system. In most temporary configurations, the CT scanner is a 64-slice or even lower-capability system. United Imaging is using scanners with 80- to 128-slice capabilities in its first installations. These faster systems can significantly decrease breath-hold requirements, providing an important benefit with diseases like COVID-19 that can impact breathing. "Having a patient hold their breath for their CT exam is necessary to ensure proper image quality. Asking a patient whose lungs are compromised to hold their breath is tough enough. Performing these exams faster can mean a lot to a patient who is already struggling to breathe," added David Bradley, VP of the company's CT and digital radiography (DR) business in the U.S.
Other characteristics of the new temporary facilities include interior walls covered in a high-quality finish that (along with the CT system) can be easily cleaned and disinfected. In addition, HEPA MERV 14 filtration is integrated into the air handling system.
United Imaging procured some of the new units from Chicago-area AMST. "We reviewed a number of options but found that AMST had not only the right solution but also the agility to move at our speed. We're offering our customers these high-end CT scanners in AMST— designed units with special infection-control features. That aligns with our company's mission of better access to healthcare for more people," said Bradley.
AMST developed this unique solution in partnership with United Imaging. "We were excited when United Imaging approached us with this opportunity to work together. Our teams worked closely to take this from concept to product in a very short time," commented Bob Bachman, AMST senior vice president. "We expect this solution to be very powerful for healthcare providers and their patients, so we're making it available to any other imaging providers as well."
Bundy concluded, "We hope this tremendous challenge we're all facing goes away quickly. But we're making this public now, even while we're completing the build with AMST, because we hope other medical imaging companies can use these solutions and even more patients can benefit. If the need in the U.S. keeps growing as it did in China and Europe, quick action will continue to be crucial."
The company plans further announcements on related efforts in the coming days.
For more information: www.united-imaging.com