Crash victims in emergency rooms could be scanned for injuries faster using an advanced kind of CAT scan the University of Iowa helped develop. Doctor Georges el-Khoury recently told the meeting of the Radiological Society of North America how the “Multi-Slice” C-T Scanner can take images of a patient faster and more extensively than old models.

el-Khoury says you can study multiple sections or a large area of the body at once, very fast. He says someone who’s brought in from an accident might be suffering a few injuries or many — head and spine trauma, a lacerated liver, a broken pelvis, leg and knee, and the doctor can study that patient from head to below the knee in a few seconds. In the old standard of care they have to study each area where the doctor suspects a problem separately, and it could take an hour or so.

el-Khoury says the first hour treating an emergency patient “is the most precious hour.” If they can do all the diagnosis in the first few minutes it’s a big advantage and el-Khoury says in emergency rooms the new Cat-Scan could cut a lot of the illness resulting from injuries and also reduce deaths. Many emergency rooms in Iowa already have the new device, as they’re added when older ones have reached the end of their useful life in clinics and hospitals.

El-Khoury says faster and more powerful computers are available today, and those are what makes the new multi-slice C-T Scanner so much better. In the past they could only use CatScans to look at a patient in slices, like salami, he explains, but now they can view parts of the body from various angles and even in three dimensions. He calls the new technology a great blessing for doctors, and especially for patients. The University of Iowa was one of more than two-dozen research institutions that helped improve the technology used today in the Multi-Slice C-T scanner.