Health Professional News, Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota among the first pediatric hospitals in the country to install new, revolutionary CT scanner

Next generation of imaging technology allows surgeons to view 3-D images and offers 45 percent reduction in radiation exposure

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (Nov. 2, 2022) – Children’s Minnesota is pleased to announce it is the first pediatric hospital in Minnesota, and second in the United States, to install Siemens Naeotom Alpha® (Alpha) with Quantum Technology – the world’s first photon-counting computed tomography (CT) scanner for clinical use. The cutting-edge technology allows surgeons to view 3-D moving images of a child’s heart before they operate, with the potential to improve surgical success and patient outcomes. Alpha also uses 45 percent less radiation compared to conventional CT scanners, making it safer for patients and staff.

Photo of Siemens Naeotom Alpha® (Alpha) with Quantum Technology – the world’s first photon-counting computed tomography (CT) scanner.

“The Alpha CT scanner technology is revolutionary in the world of medical diagnostics, allowing us to better visualize tiny structures and increase diagnostic accuracy in even the smallest of babies, with incredibly low radiation doses,” said Dr. Angela Kelle, cardiologist at Children’s Minnesota. “These CT images are part of the expert care we provide to patients, helping to make Children’s Minnesota a national destination for pediatric care.”

This fall, Children Minnesota began using Alpha to scan patients. In addition to its pediatric cardiac imaging capabilities, the new scanner’s improved image quality and resolution and increased diagnostic information will benefit patients referred from all medical and surgical disciplines. The Alpha’s photon counting uses newly designed energy-resolving x-ray detectors to count the number of incoming photons and quantify photon energy. This technology results in higher contrast-to-noise ratio, improved spatial resolution and optimized spectral imaging compared to conventional energy-integrating detectors.

Among Alpha’s many benefits:

  • Cutting spatial resolution nearly in half which is critical in pediatric heart care, especially for premature babies with the tiniest vessels.
  • Alpha’s speed allows cardiac CT scans to happen in just seconds, most of the time without needing anesthesia or a breathing tube, even in the smallest of patients.
  • All relevant CT results will be provided in one single scan providing answers for patients and referring physicians.

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota is one system serving kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, nine primary care clinics, multiple specialty clinics and seven rehabilitation sites. As The Kids ExpertsTM in our region, Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital.

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