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CAMC Imaging: More than just a pretty picture

At CAMC, pictures are worth more than 1,000 words—they save lives.

Imaging tests like MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), CTA (computed tomography angiogram) scans and breast biopsies are considered “routine” medical procedures. But when your doctor says you need one of these tests, it’s not routine to you, and naturally you worry about what the results will show.

Luckily for patients at CAMC, the expertise of its staff and availability of comprehensive, high-tech imaging services makes the process a lot more bearable.

“It’s stressful when your doctor says you need a test to take a closer look at something inside your body,” said Tuanya Layton, director of imaging services for CAMC General and Memorial Hospitals. “We try to make it a little easier by offering some imaging tests at several locations, like CTs and digital mammograms, so you can go wherever is most convenient for you. And if you need a procedure that’s only offered at one location, like a breast biopsy at the Breast Center or cardiac CTA at the Heart and Vascular Center, our flexible scheduling will get you in and out without delay – because the last thing you want to do is wait.”

No matter which CAMC facility you visit, they’re all connected, so information is shared easily throughout the system.

“For example, if you have a mammogram in Teays Valley or at one of our Imaging Centers in Southridge or Kanawha City, then need a biopsy at the Breast Center, and perhaps surgery after that, our doctors are all integrated to make sure you get excellent, seamless care from start to finish,” Layton said.

CAMC is a leader in all areas of imaging, particularly heart and breast care.

“Newer imaging technology has changed the way our medical professionals evaluate and treat heart disease,” said George Farris, associate administrator of CAMC Memorial Hospital. “Non-invasive scans like cardiac CTAs and MRIs allow us to get information that, in the past, could only be obtained using invasive [surgical] procedures. The image quality is so clear we can see what’s going on inside a person’s heart with incredible accuracy, and before ever needing to make a single cut.”

CAMC’s board certified radiologists and cardiologists are specially trained and credentialed in cardiac CTA, meaning they have an increased level of expertise in that area.

“As one of the nation’s busiest heart centers with more cardiologists and radiologists than anyone in the region, we hold ourselves to a higher standard because we want the best possible outcomes for our patients,” Farris said.

CAMC’s focus on breast care is also unmatched, with the only accredited Breast Center in West Virginia and more highly-trained surgeons and board certified radiologists than anyone in the region. Plus, CAMC offers the most advanced technology to accurately diagnose breast disease, including digital mammography, breast ultrasound and less invasive breast biopsy procedures.

“Women can rest assured that they’ll get fast, accurate results and have access to the most comprehensive treatment, should they need it,” said Missy Bohan, manager of the Breast Center at Women and Children’s Hospital.

For busy women, CAMC’s Breast Center and two freestanding imaging centers make it easy to get a mammogram – no appointment required. Just walk in during regular business hours, whenever it’s convenient for you. Plus, with flexible scheduling for a variety of other imaging procedures, it’s easy for patients to get the tests, and results, they need promptly.

For people of different ages and sizes, Women and Children’s Hospital has a large bore MRI that provides the most comfortable experience possible for children, claustrophobic and plus-size patients. The scanner’s extra wide opening and short length creates a less intimidating environment that helps patients stay relaxed. Plus, its CinemaVision entertainment system allows patients to watch their favorite movies or listen to music during the procedure, which also makes the experience less stressful.

In 2010, CAMC performed more than 408,000 imaging tests. With such high volume, it’s essential that many of its technologists are specially trained in multiple modalities, meaning they can work in different areas of imaging. CAMC currently has more than 225 medical imaging technologists, 80 of whom are registered in more than one modality. This is different from the way most hospitals operate, where technicians often are hired to work in only one area of imaging (for example, X-ray or MRI). CAMC helps its staff broaden their skills through a career ladder that encourages them to continually learn advanced skills, which makes them knowledgeable in a variety of areas.

With flexible scheduling, unmatched experience and the latest imaging technology available, patients get results quicker, cutting down on the anxiety of waiting for answers. Plus, patients receiving CT tests benefit from new technology that allows high-quality images to be produced from lower than before radiation levels.

Johnsey Leef III, MD, CAMC’s chief of medical imaging and radiation oncology, says the highly-trained staff and advanced technology are what sets CAMC’s imaging services apart from other hospitals.

“We’re constantly maintaining state-of-the-art technology…we’re never behind,” Dr. Leef said. “CAMC was the first in the state to have a 256-slice CT, the first to have 64-slice CT, and we’re the only center in the region for breast MRI. We make sure we’re always ahead of the curve.”

CAMC provides comprehensive imaging services at seven locations: Kanawha City Imaging Center, Southridge Imaging Center, The Breast Center at Women and Children’s Hospital, General Hospital, Memorial Hospital, Women and Children’s Hospital and Teays Valley Hospital (services vary by location).

COMMON IMAGING PROCEDURES

MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI): MRI is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. In many cases MRI gives different information about structures in the body than can be seen with an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan. MRI also may show problems that cannot be seen with other imaging methods.

MRI is done for many reasons. It is used to find problems such as tumors, bleeding, injury, blood vessel diseases, or infection. MRI also may be done to provide more information about a problem seen on an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or CT scan. Contrast material may be used during MRI to show abnormal tissue more clearly.

COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN: A CT scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. During the test, you lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the area of the body being studied. Each rotation of the scanner takes less than a second and provides a picture of a thin slice of the organ or area.

An iodine dye (contrast material) is often used to make structures and organs easier to see. The dye may be used to check blood flow, find tumors, and look for other problems. A CT scan can be used to study all parts of your body, such as the chest, belly, pelvis, or an arm or leg. It can take pictures of body organs, such as the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, lungs and heart. It also can study blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord.

MAMMOGRAM: There are two types of mammograms, a procedure that checks for abnormalities like lumps and masses in the breast: screening and diagnostic. In the former, each breast is X-rayed in two different positions: from top to bottom and from side to side. Questionable abnormalities sometimes require additional evaluation – diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, and/or needle biopsy. A diagnostic mammogram focuses on an area of breast tissue that appeared abnormal in a screening mammogram.

ULTRASOUND: Ultrasound images help in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases and conditions, including stomach problems. During an ultrasound test, high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, are transmitted through body tissues using an instrument called a transducer, which transmits the information to a computer that displays the information on a monitor.

Ultrasound is used to create images of soft tissue structures, such as the gallbladder, liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, bladder, thyroid gland, prostate, female reproductive organs, and even of babies in the uterus. Ultrasound can also measure the flow of blood in the arteries to detect blockages.

Source: WebMD
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