The Tri-City Healthcare District Board of Directors has approved the purchase and installation of the most advanced computed tomography (CT) scanner on the market, enabling its radiologists to make quick and accurate diagnoses for patients.

The GE Healthcare Revolution CT scanner is expected to be operational as early as December 2015, making Tri-City Medical Center the first provider to offer this medical imaging technology in San Diego County. It can create a full, three-dimensional image of an organ in one pass and will provide more options for the hospital’s radiology program.

“This device can take a full cardiac image in a heartbeat — literally,” said Dr. Donald Ponec, medical director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Radiology Services at Tri-City Medical Center. “It will be of tremendous value to cardiac patients as well as many other patients being cared for on an inpatient, outpatient or emergency basis.”

Tri-City’s emergency room is the third busiest in San Diego County. The ER sees 70,000 people per year of which about 14,000 require CT procedures, according to a recent news release.

“This machine will achieve a significant improvement in turnaround times for patients waiting for CT scan results as well as immediately rule out cardiac disease in those arriving with chest pain,” Ponec said.

The $3 million device was paid for in part by contributions raised by the Tri-City Hospital Foundation and Tri-City Hospital Auxiliary.

A CT scan is a noninvasive and expedient way to look inside the body at organs, soft tissues, vascular structures and bones using X-rays to generate high-resolution images of the body. It does this by rotating an X-ray source and detector around the patient as the patient is moved through the device.

The GE Revolution CT will allow Tri-City Medical Center physicians to scan entire organs such as the brain, heart, liver and pancreas in a single, 0.28-second rotation, reducing breath-hold times and radiation doses for patients.

“The Revolution CT will help our physicians with its advanced medical imaging capability while creating a more comfortable experience for our patients,” said Tri-City Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Tim Moran. “This investment will produce immediate benefits operationally for the medical center and in quality of care for our community.”