3-D tech is major part of new Johns Hopkins Hospital’s image

June 1, 2012

Johns Hopkins Hospital’s new 1.6-million-square-foot home, which opened May 1 in Baltimore, embodies the Hopkins ideal for the future of healthcare. “It has the space and technology to match our researchers’ scientific knowledge, our faculty’s medical acumen and our staff’s clinical skills, but it also adds the patient experience as the fourth critical dimension in this equilibrium,” says Edward Miller, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center surgeons Fizan
Abdullah, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeffrey Lukish, M.D.; and Dylan
Stewart, M.D., in one of the new pediatric ORs at the
Charlotte Bloomberg Children’s Center.
(Images courtesy: Johns Hopkins Children’s Center)

One impressive feature (and there are many) is the facility’s extensive use of the latest imaging technologies to offer unprecedented levels of detail to enhance the precision and safety of many procedures.

A 3-D navigational imaging system helps surgeons thread through complex brain structures during delicate neurosurgical procedures. The system uses MRI images and works as a surgical GPS that allows doctors to determine their location in real time and in a three-dimensional space, explains pediatric neurosurgeon Edward Ahn, M.D.

In the new pediatric cardiac catheterization lab, where cardiologists perform many procedures with minimally invasive techniques, 3-D technology provides high-definition images to ensure accuracy and improve results. For example, says pediatric cardiologist Richard Ringel, M.D., patients with congenital heart disease often require periodic work on their pulmonary arteries, the complex anatomy of which is not well captured on standard X-ray images. 3-D imaging allows better planning and execution of procedures like stenting and dilation of narrowed pulmonary vessels.

All radiation-based imaging equipment, such as X-rays and CT scanners, uses the newest techniques to reduce the applied radiation dose to a minimum. In addition, using the most sensitive, highest-speed CT scanners eliminates the need for sedation in many young children who tend to fidget. “If we can get an image in five to 10 seconds instead of one to two minutes, we may no longer have to sedate the child,” says Thierry Huisman, M.D., director of pediatric radiology.

Inside the neurosurgery operating rooms, a powerful intra-operative MR scanner suspended from the ceiling on rails can slide easily between two rooms to give instant, on-the-spot feedback in real time. For example, a patient’s brain can be scanned immediately after tumor removal, while the patient is still on the operating table. In mere seconds, the surgeon knows if more brain tissue needs to be removed.

         One of 33 state-of-the art operating rooms
                         in the new hospital.

All 33 operating rooms (ORs) are outfitted with large flat-screen monitors and an audio-visual integration system that allows seamless interaction between radiology and surgery. OR staff can pull up any image any time from the radiology database. A surgeon performing a spinal operation, for example, is able to reference past MRIs or X-rays without leaving the room.

And enhanced imaging capabilities in the pediatric and adult emergency departments (EDs) eliminate the need to shuffle patients to radiology for imaging and back to the ED. Radiologists are located on site in the pediatric emergency and adult departments with enhanced hours, and most of the imaging is done on the spot in the ED.

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