A First for Scotland as Canon Medical Systems Installs Cutting-Edge Interventional Imaging Equipment at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

The Alphenix Sky+ will enable the hospital to deliver complex precision procedures by offering greater levels of accessibility to patient anatomy, superior image quality, and workflow optimisation   


To bring complex interventional procedures in-house and increase patient throughput, Forth Valley Royal Hospital has installed the Alphenix Sky+, making it the first hospital in Scotland to benefit from Canon Medical’s most advanced ceiling-mounted imaging system, placing it at the cutting edge of diagnostic innovation.

The Alphenix Sky+ offers clinicians superior imaging quality and the 220° rotation needed to carry out complex precision procedures such as prostate artery embolization (PAE) for prostate conditions. This will improve clinical workflow efficiencies by reducing the need for patient referral to alternative hospitals in Scotland, bringing healthcare closer to the community. In addition, patients with vascular and renal conditions, which previously required major surgery, can now undergo treatment through minimally invasive techniques. The Alphenix Sky+ also enables the hospital to carry out examinations of the uterus for women experiencing fertility issues and treat uterine fibroids, reducing the need for more invasive procedures or surgery.

Jennifer Gilchrist, Radiology Services Manager at NHS Forth Valley, commented, “Whilst our previous radiology imaging system served us well, technology has significantly advanced since its purchase 12 years ago. We needed new state-of-the-art equipment that would provide crystal clear, high-quality images to enable us to carry out a broader range of precision procedures in-house. As a hospital, we are keen to serve our patients as close to home as possible and are thrilled that we can now make this possible.”

Featuring a double C-arm feature with full rotation from either the right or left side of the table, the Alphenix Sky+ can capture scans of the patient’s body from all angles, whilst integrated AI technology allows the operator to create a high-resolution 3D image from a 2D set of data. This is vital for complex procedures and scans, including inserting small metal coils into veins or arteries to cut off the blood supply to cancerous tumours and placing stents which can then be expanded to help clear blockages and maintain blood flow. Increased clinical confidence through 3D images leads to better patient outcomes.

Combined with an integrated workstation, the Alphenix Sky+ system significantly reduces restrictions on examinations and procedures, aiding greater operator workflow and increasing overall productivity. It also offers a lower radiation dose than alternative scanners, a key consideration in diagnostic imaging, especially for patients requiring multiple scans during treatment.
The addition of a unique SPOT Fluoro, which helps improve workflow and visibility of guide wires and catheters, also works to reduce dose per procedure. The radiation field can be seamlessly adjusted independently, ensuring that the minimum area needed to perform the procedure is exposed, without needing to adjust the patient or system position. Meanwhile, the use of the Dose Tracking System (DTS) within the Alphenix Sky+ scanner allows the clinician to monitor the patient’s skin dose in real-time, thus minimising the risk of radiation injury.

In addition to the Alphenix Sky+ system, Forth Valley Hospital has also installed Canon Medical’s Ultimax-i X-ray machine to further build diagnostic capacity and resilience within the hospital. The new machine, housed in the fluoroscopy room, enables high-quality images and videos to be captured using contrast dye. This can be used to examine patients experiencing difficulty chewing and swallowing food, which can often happen after a stroke. It can also be used to assess joints to determine if a patient would benefit from a hip or knee replacement and help with the precise positioning of stents to treat patients with a range of cancers, including bowel, stomach, gallbladder, and liver, as well as supporting a wide range of investigations carried out by the Endoscopy Department.

Jennifer Gilchrist added, “Thanks to the new equipment, we now have the imaging precision needed for the services we want to provide. Resilience is another key consideration. Our old imaging fluoroscopy room wasn’t set up for interventional procedures, so being able to carry these out with the Ultimax-i, as a support to the Alphenix Sky+, is extremely exciting. Together the two systems offer a perfect solution as we know we’ll always have a backup machine in place and, better still, we can offer interventional procedures to more than one patient at a time.”

“Replacing and installing the new systems back-to-back enabled us to keep patient services running effectively during the transition, and Canon Medical ensured that the installation was completely seamless from start to finish. We could not have done this installation as successfully without the constant oversight from the experienced project manager and partners.”

“This is a long-term investment for the health board and hospital and, due to the relationship we have built, we know that if we require further assistance moving forward when it comes to upgrades, updates, and training, Canon Medical will be able to support us.”

Philip Willcock, XR/VL Modality Manager at Canon Medical Systems, concludes, “We are pleased to have completed the first installation of the Alphenix Sky+ in Scotland, along with the Ultimax-i X-ray machine at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital. The installation of both systems offers the hospital the ability to deliver more complex interventional procedures in-house, whilst increasing patient throughput and comfort by offering superior access to patient anatomy. Being able to capture high-quality scans of the patient’s body from all angles is crucial to improving operator workflow and achieving increased productivity, clinical confidence, and better patient outcomes. We hope this is the first of many more installations in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK.”