JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
The U.S. Army Medical Board recently tested a new deployable computerized tomography, or CT, scanner that allows for better medical imaging, transportability and maintenance.
The test was conducted during the first two weeks of December 2020 at the Deployable Medical Systems Equipment for Training complex at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis.
The AMEDD Board is a directorate within the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, or MEDCoE, responsible for providing independent operational test and evaluation of medical and medical-related materiel and information technology products in support of the Army and Department of Defense acquisition process.
The board provides assessments of emerging concepts, doctrine and advanced technology applications applied to the delivery of healthcare, both on the battlefield and in fixed facilities.
The new CT scanner is highly accurate in the positive identification of head, neck, chest, abdominal, pelvic and spinal injuries, as well as for providing an angiographic review of the arterial system from the brain (cephalic end) to the feet (plantar end), if necessary.
The military radiologists using this new technology system will have multiple planes to assess and, at the tissue level, serve to provide definitive identification of limb trauma. The enhanced images allow military radiologists to identify unsuspected areas of internal bleeding and to pinpoint issues that require emergency surgery.
This new technology will increase survival rates and improve diagnosis through the comprehensive images produced.
The modernized scanner provides advanced CT procedures across the full clinical spectrum of radiographic imaging through the use of twin-beam dual-energy, patient-centric technologies and streamlined workflows, which are controlled via a tablet and a remote using mobile proprietary technologies.
The CT scanner delivers damage control radiology to the battlefield. During imaging, the X-ray tube circumnavigates the patient so that the detectors receive an array of images from multiple angles to reconstruct a detailed representation of a specific region.
The upgraded system is housed in a lead-lined International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, container, allowing for location greater flexibility at deployment field hospitals. The container walls expand once onsite, allowing for transport on trucks, ships and cargo aircraft.
A manufacturer-certified instructor provided familiarization training to Army 68P radiology specialists on the proper use of the CT scanner and the development of scanning techniques within the system with the assistance of Army 61R diagnostic radiologists.
Col. Roberto Marin, AMEDD Board branch chief of the operational test, stated that military radiologists were trained, operated the system and provided honest, candid feedback on different scenarios with this new technology system which is designed to mitigate unnecessary exploratory surgeries that could stress patients and decrease windows of opportunity to save patients from sustained injuries.
The new system is easier to maintain for the 68P Soldiers who support the scanner. The system has software-driven diagnostics tools providing maintainers with better feedback to pinpoint potential problems in troubleshooting logs.
During the two-week test, maintainers had the opportunity for hands-on experience with the new system and manuals. As part of the test, the AMEDD Board provided feedback on their experiences to incorporate into field manuals.
Sgt. 1st Class Elijah Williamson, a test and evaluation officer at the AMEDD Board, stated the system is an upgrade to the current system deployed in 2003.
“This new system is low dose, which makes it safer for the patient,” Williamson said. “The system software is self-modulating, regulating the amount of radiation the patient receives with just enough to give you the best picture without over radiating the patient. It also lets you create 3-D images, where regular X-ray scans are 2-D, and you can rotate your images for a different view. The system is more software-driven.”
The results of the new CT scanner were sent to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency at Fort Detrick, Maryland, for final review and adjustments by the manufacture prior to the final acquisition, expected this fiscal year.