Long waiting time for CT scans to be reduced with 3 new CT scan machines

Three new CT scan machines have been installed in two regional referral hospitals and the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu. This means patients will get the scans done faster. The medical equipment were handed over by the Japanese government last month.

The medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Gosar Pemba, said that with increasing number of patients referred to the hospital for CT scan, an average of 200 patients per month, the workload for the radiologists is overwhelming.  In addition, he said the old CT scan machine which had crossed its warranty period issued by the manufacturer suffered occasional breakdowns. It ultimately resulted in increasing the patients’ wait time, which ranged between ten days to more than a month. The hospital sees about 12 to 15 cases requiring CT scan on a daily basis.

Dr Gosar said that with the help of the additional new CT scan machines placed in Thimphu and other regions, JDWNRH estimates that the average wait time for the patients would be around 5 days or less. “We won’t be having patients coming all the way from east or south since they are having their own CT scan in their region.”

He said that the time required for screening, which are required for contrast enhanced studies, takes around 20 minutes for each patient. There are currently four radiologists in the hospital, out of which two will be placed in the two regional hospitals in Mongar and Gelephu regional hospitals. Currently, the two radiologists to be posted in the regional hospitals are taking refreshers’ course.

JDWNRH will keep the old 16 slices CT scan machine for the emergency purpose while the new 64 slices will be used for regular cases. The CT scan unit operates from 9am to 3pm for routine cases and emergency services. Apart from such services, the unit also carries out a special consultancy service from 4 to 7pm daily.

The first CT scan machine in a country was introduced in JDWNRH on 3 July 2006. Computed Tomography (CT) scan uses computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional slices or images of a scanned object, to see insides the object without cutting. The warranty for the machine is ten years. The machine is mainly used for scanning the brain, chest, upper and lower abdomen, lung, kidney, etc. Besides CT scanner, there are also other added facilities like Spirometer and Electrocardiogram (ECG) Holter System which is allotted to the Monger hospital while a digital x-ray has been allotted for Gelephu hospital

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