HALIFAX – Patients visiting a new private medical clinic in Bedford will soon be able to get a CT scan from a device that’s the first of its kind in Canada.

Picture Your Health Medical Centre, the facility operated by Atlantic Medical Imaging Services, will provide the services of an Aquilion ONE (Vision Edition) CT scanner, which the company says is cutting-edge technology.

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“The standard detector is four centimetres. This detector is 16 centimetres, so it can scan a complete organ in one pass,” said Jamal Instrum, the CEO of the centre.

Joan Burt, the centre’s vice-president of communications, said the machine gives off up to 90 per cent less radiation than other scanners in use today.

The scanner, which weighs three tons and has a table capable of supporting a patient up to 660 pounds, is worth $3 million.

Burt said it serves several purposes.

“We can catch the heart all in one beat,” she said, adding it can do brain studies and is “wonderful for pediatrics because of the low dose.” She said it can also perform virtual colonoscopies.

Alan Brydie, the head of diagnostic imaging for Capital Health, says the regional health authority has five capable scanners, including one that’s considered high-end.

“It’s still to my understanding, the fastest type of scanner that’s installed in Canada,” he said.

That high-end scanner is only used for cardiac and vascular scans, and Brydie said its use wasn’t always required.

“For the vast majority of what we do, some of these bells and whistles really don’t add anything.”

Brydie said the longest wait time for a CT scan is 40 days, but half of 1,200 scans monthly are emergency cases, performed the same day.

Instrum said at his private clinic, the wait is shorter.

“If you want better screening, or you want to get in faster to find out what’s happening, there’s an opportunity now to be able to pay for it and get it done,” he said.

The Nova Scotia Workers’ Compensation Board uses both the public and private systems to help get people back to work as quickly as possible and plans to contact the Picture Your Health centre.

“If they offer services that we think will help injured workers facilitate a safe and timely return to work, then we would be very interested in what they have to offer,” said Shelley Rowan, the organization’s vice-president of prevention and service.

The board will also assess the service’s cost to determine whether or not it will be used.

Patients will require a doctor’s requisition for a scan, however, whether it’s through a public or private facility.

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