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CT in a Box Boosts Imaging Capability at COVID-19 Surge Hospitals

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 15 Dec 2020
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Image: The `CT in a box` in the Henri-Mondor parking lot (Photo courtesy of GE Healthcare)
Image: The `CT in a box` in the Henri-Mondor parking lot (Photo courtesy of GE Healthcare)
A prefabricated container that houses a computerized tomography (CT) system helps assess COVID-19 disease progression and complications, while also smoothing patient flow.

Located at Henri Mondor University Hospital (Créteil Cede, France), the “CT in a box”, developed by GE Healthcare (GE, Little Chalfont, United Kingdom), is a 36 sqm transportable structure dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The concept was conceived following the rapid spread of the infection in France during March 2020, which motivated hospital authorities to nearly double the facility’s intensive care unit (ICU) capacity from 90 to 175 beds, requiring an additional CT unit. The Henri Mondor system hold a GE Healthcare Optima CT.

The design consists of two small, prefabricated cabins that are joined into a single, square module, with a lead-lined, shielded partition wall between the exam and control rooms. To replicate the controlled, easily accessible environment of a hospital CT room, the walls have no windows; instead, technicians in the control room observe the patient and perform the imaging process by monitoring webcam images. Each room has a separate door at opposite ends of the module, while a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit maintains temperature at around 22 degrees Celsius.

“While the scan itself can be completed in a matter of minutes, technicians can accommodate around one patient per hour, due to the time needed to prep the patient and fully sanitize the exam room,” said François Meignan, the GE Healthcare project manager who designed the project. “But the new module is not just about boosting the number of scans, but smoothing patient flow across the entire hospital. That is because the module will relieve pressure on the facility’s three existing CT machines and because it is located near the hospital’s ICUs, where it treats its COVID-19 patients.”

“At the beginning of the outbreak, China’s clinicians in remote or pop-up hospitals quickly called for the precise images CT scans provide to help them spot complications earlier,” said Kieran Murphy, CEO of GE Healthcare. “To address this need, our engineers quickly developed CT-in-a-box, an easy to install modular machine that captures the same robust imagery of traditionally installed CT scanners. Learning from our experience there, GE Healthcare teams in France developed a similar solution to address the urgent need for additional imaging capacity.”

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