Mercy Fort Smith Expands PET/CT Services with State-of-the-Art Scanner

April 11, 2023

A new PET/CT scanner at Mercy Fort Smith will help create a better experience for both oncology and cardiology patients.

The GE Omni Legend was recently installed at the hospital in a newly remodeled space. Mercy Fort Smith began using the scanner on April 10 and is the first hospital in the country to have the Omni Legend onsite, according to GE.

“Being the first hospital in the country to have this state-of-the-art scanner demonstrates our commitment to bringing the best services possible to our patients in the River Valley. We look forward to seeing the benefits as we utilize this new technology and to creating an improved overall experience,” said Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospitals Arkansas.  

The Omni Legend uses an all-new digital detector design that delivers the highest sensitivity available in scanners today. Benefits of the enhanced technology include shorter exam times, significantly greater lesion detectability and lower doses of radiation. 

Mercy doctor's coat Mercy leaders cut the ribbon on the new Omni Legend PET/CT scanner in Fort Smith.

In the past, PET (positron emission tomography) has almost exclusively been used with oncology patients as the first course of action after a cancer diagnosis to determine the extent and total involvement of the cancer. However, with this new technology, both oncology and cardiology patients can benefit from PET procedures, said Kevin Bowen, director of imaging services at Mercy Fort Smith.

“The Mercy Fort Smith community is blessed to be among the first in the entire country to offer this technology to our patients,” Bowen said. “Due to the tremendous advancements and growth of our oncology program in Fort Smith, our PET schedule is routinely booked, and we were unable to see new patients for up to three weeks. We recognized this was an unacceptable wait time for our community and wanted to invest in opportunities that would allow patients to be seen in a much shorter timeframe.”

The new scanner will give Mercy Fort Smith the capability to double its current patient capacity, with the goal of being able to provide same-day or next-day access, Bowen added.

“It’s so exciting to bring the latest and greatest technology to our patients here in the River Valley, because they deserve the best,” said Ryan Geib, chief operating officer at Mercy Hospital Fort Smith. “The Sisters of Mercy have been innovating for 195 years, and it really starts with that entrepreneurial spirit. The team here at Mercy is to be commended for this – thank you for looking out for our patients.”

The Omni Legend scanner first launched in more than a dozen locations around the world in late 2022. The scanner was named Best New Radiology Device at the 2023 EuroMinnies awards, where Europeans acknowledge the contributions of their peers in the field of radiology. 

Mercy doctor's coat Mercy Fort Smith is the first hospital in the country to have GE's Omni Legend PET/CT scanner onsite.