Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton General Hospital's portable CT scanner treatment 'first in Europe'

Southampton General Hospital
Image caption The Neurointensive Care Unit treats traumatic brain injuries

A new portable CT scanner has made Southampton General Hospital the first in Europe where brain specialists can scan and treat patients at their beds.

The technology has been described as a "major milestone" by clinicians on the Neurointensive Care Unit (NICU).

It means patients will no longer have to be transferred to another part of the site, and that neurological conditions can be diagnosed quicker.

Director Dr Roger Lightfoot said it was needed because "timing is everything".

He added: "Any deterioration needs to be diagnosed as quickly as possible so pressure can be taken off of the brain rapidly to give a patient the best possible chance of a good recovery.

"The portable CT scanner not only enables instant imaging, it means we no longer have to move critically ill patients away from the safety of the intensive care unit and we can perform emergency procedures at the bedside - it really is a major milestone."

Image copyright UHS/PA Wire
Image caption Neurosurgeons will use the scanner to perform emergency image-guided procedures

The NICU regularly treats conditions such as bleeding on the brain caused by strokes, and traumatic brain injuries.

The £150,000 portable scanner will mean neurosurgeons can perform emergency image-guided procedures to release fluid from the brain and reduce pressure on the skull.

It was donated by Percy's Pals, a Southampton Hospital Charity fund.

It was set up in memory of Dr Richard "Percy" Percival, a Southampton GP who died from a stroke in 2013.

His friend Tim Smith said he would have wanted his name and death to be a "catalyst for good in the community" and that it was "amazing" to be part of "such a revolutionary development".

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