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2,600-Year-Old Mummy Undergoes CT Scan at North Shore University Hospital

Mummy at North Shore University Hospital

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Contact: Michelle Pinto

MANHASSET, NY -- Heart patients at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY have access to the most-advanced diagnostic technology, including a 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scan, located in the hospital’s Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT Services area. On Thursday, the CT area hosted a very special guest who received the royal treatment while being scanned: Lady Gautseshenu, (which means “bouquet of lotuses.”), daughter of the vizier Horiese and the Lady Tanini, dating back to 700-650 BC. Egyptologists believe she is probably from Thebes (modern-day Luxor in southern Egypt). The Egyptian word “seshen” (lotus) is the origin of the name Susan.

Egyptologists at the Brooklyn Museum brought their invaluable cargo (still in its unwrapped and beautifully decorated cartonnage) to the hospital to be scanned, with the hope of gaining further knowledge about her identity, the cause of death, and possibly, Egyptian funerary practices. Even though this technology is primarily used to detect abnormalities in the human heart, it is the test of choice for the mummy, since each “slice” that appears on the computer screen is about 0.6 mm (less than a 50th of an inch) thick. Such testing enables radiologists to learn about the bones and skeletal system of the mummy in extraordinary detail, without having to do invasive or damaging procedures.

During a news conference at the hospital, Amgad Makaryus, MD the hospital’s director of cardiac CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), said the scan “offered a wonderful opportunity to use the latest scientific techniques to learn more about history. Jesse Chusid, MD, the hospital’s director of imaging informatics, explained that using the 64-slice scan allowed doctors and scientists to examine the mummy without invasive procedures that could cause damage.

As a throng of news media watched, Lady Gautseshenu underwent the 64-slice CT scan. Soon afterwards, doctors analyzed the scans and determined that Lady G. was at least 16 years old at the time of her death and probably of noble birth, owing to the fact that she was buried with her heart intact. The scan, which provides more than 10,000 images, allows doctors to study the mummy’s overall appearance, as well as the condition of her bones and soft tissue.

The full analysis of the condition of Lady Gautseshenu will not be completed for several days. In the meantime, the doctors were pleased to discover that Lady G. seems to have lived a relatively good life, given the excellent condition of her teeth and other organs.

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