A profound community impact

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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For most of my five decades of life, I have been the person who wanted to make a difference. I was the little girl on the playground taking care of the kid who fell and got hurt. I was the college kid volunteering for community fairs and helping in church events. As an adult, I became a registered nurse because I wanted to help those who were sick. Now, as a hospital administrator, I want to not just help the sick, but I want to help keep people well. Early detection and even prevention of health issues are what we want to be involved in as we want to impact the health of our community. That’s why I am so excited about today’s topic. 

For much of 2022, you’ve read about and participated in our community philanthropic effort to raise awareness and money to purchase a new computed tomography platform (CT scanner). In the column today, I want to share a bit more about why this technology is so important to our community and why I believe it is much more than a scanner. It is a huge leap forward in community impact. Our new CT is up and functioning and we have new testing capabilities never before available in Polk County!

“Today, we are happy to announce that the GE Revolution Apex Elite platform is online and operational,” said Debra Hill, Director of Radiology. She continued by saying, “Polk County now has the most advanced diagnostic screening tool found anywhere in the world. St. Luke’s is truly on the leading edge of the curve with this technology.”

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No community has a CT scanner more powerful than St. Luke’s. And only one hospital in the western Carolinas can match us as they have the same unit we do.

In every dimension of the CT imaging chain, the exceptional capabilities of this scanner truly thrust St. Luke’s into the forefront of computed tomography. To list all of the features would take every page of this Bulletin, and then some. But here’s an abbreviated summary:

  • Industry’s fastest (0.23 second) rotation time, delivering uncompromised 1-beat cardiac studies for any heart rate and rhythm (including atrial fibrillation).
  • The most powerful x-ray tube ever provides power and speed for all body types.
  • Next-generation ultra-low-dose spectral imaging producing unprecedented image detail.
  • TrueFidelity™ ultra-clear images reduce artifact interruption associated with obesity, calcification, and metallics.
  • Equipped today yet prepared for tomorrow—deep learning image reconstruction, modular design, and built-in scalable detectors ensure our competitive advantage for years to come.


  • You no longer need to travel out of the area to receive the best CT scanning (St. Luke’s is now preparing to accept an influx of referred patients from throughout the region seeking best-in-class diagnostic screening).
  • Fifty percent of chest pain patients have unnecessary heart catheterizations. Along with our other complement of cardiac tests, our new CT-A (CT with Angiography) allows us to now tell who DOES NOT need the procedure. Avoiding unnecessary procedures is helping keep people well! 
  • With 99.6% accuracy, we can determine cardiac structural issues
  • As the world’s most advanced lung cancer screening tool, we can provide you with the best early lung cancer detection opportunity.  
  • Smart Stroke dedicated hardware and software to reduce door-to-treatment time. We can comprehensively map the brain’s cellular activity in 3D with pinpoint accuracy and have a stroke diagnosis often in less than five minutes.
  • Do you have a kidney stone? With a CT-guided procedure, you may be able to avoid surgery.
  • Split-second, low-dose pediatric imaging without sedation
  • The speed and accuracy of our new scanner mean a higher level of complex care is now possible at St. Luke’s Emergency Department.


“It’s tough to describe this technology’s impact on Polk County. We are strategically and methodically adding pieces to the critical care puzzle,” said Dr. Joe Stephenson, Director of the St. Luke’s Cancer and Infusion Center. First, we’ve hired world-class providers, and now with the GE Revolution Apex Elite computed tomography platform, we’ve confidently unleashed groundbreaking clinical excellence for every St. Luke’s patient. As a result, cardiologist Dr. Evans Kemp said, “we now have a world-class cardiology department in every sense of the word.”

Delivering the highest quality informed care has long been our primary directive. And realizing this goal is only possible through cutting-edge technology like the Revolution Apex Elite we are so grateful for every person and organization who helped make this dream a reality. As a community, we will all be healthier because of this new technology. And being healthier is something we can all be excited about!

If you have a healthcare topic of interest or want to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or visit our website at StLukesNC.org.