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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014


Canonsburg Hospital opens 'closed' MRI unit

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Canonsburg Hospital opens 'closed' MRI unit 
By Terri T. Johnson Almanac staff writer

Canonsburg Hospital closed an open MRI facility in Peters Township and opened a new "closed" unit at the hospital.
Marilyn Kovach, director of medical imaging services and cardiology, said the closed MRI with a wide bore, opened in the former cardiac cauterization lab Jan. 15 to ensure patients the best imaging and resolution.

The unit is considered a closed MRI, but the shorter and wider opening - called a bore - is designed to help ease a claustrophobic patient's feelings of being closed in.

If the patient continues to have difficulty coping with the tube, a sedative prescribed by the patient's physician is an option. There is constant communication among the MRI technologists and the patient.

The wide bore can also accommodate patients weighing up to 500 pounds. Most tables are capable of taking 300- to 375-pound patients, said Susan Sherwin, MRI technologist.

Kovach designed the room not only for efficiency, but with the patient's comfort in mind. Soft lights and music accent the neutral walls with interlocking painted circles.
The hospital has operated a mobile MRI unit since 1995. This unit is permanent and is capable of producing a better image. Average time to be in the unit is 45 minutes to an hour, Kovach said.

Cathy Pushak, MRI technologist, said time in the unit may seem lengthy, however, unlike an x-ray, MRI images are actual multiple images in the plain. Those images take time to "cut" through the area to be scanned.

All results are digital and are read by the radiologist the day of the procedure. The readings are sent to the ordering physician as quickly as possible, depending on the day of the week and the time of the scan.

Areas to be scanned by the MRI are "head to toe," Kovach said. Each patient is questioned at least two times before the MRI to prevent any imbedded fragments from being disrupted by the powerful magnet or to en-sure a complete patient history.

Patients may also have an x-ray, ultrasound, CT or other types of scans, regular or nuclear, depending on what images the physician requires. Each test can prove valuable to the physician, but in a different way, Kovach said.

The MRI is especially good for images of the joints including the knee and the spine.

The new unit at Canonsburg has separate dressing and waiting areas and is located across the hall from the former mobile unit.

Kovach said the x-ray was first used in 1895, with the MRI being tested in Europe in 1963. The scan was introduced in the United States in the mid 1970s.

So far, Kovach said, there is no evidence of any harm to the body through MRI or ultrasound. Walking past the unit does not expose a visitor or patient to any side effects. Inside the MRI suite, Kovach said there are clearly marked zones to help the patient avoid any area that are restricted to employees only.

The unit will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. until noon Saturday. No tests are performed on Sundays.

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