Handle with care. An MRI is always highly magnetic, even when it’s not in use. As Annette Link, an MRI technologist, sets up the equipment, her stethoscope is tugged toward the MRI’s bore. Sequim Gazette photos by Mark Couhig
Sequim Gazette staff
Olympic Medical Center's new wide-bore MRI is now up and running.
Housed at Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles, the $1.3 million state-of-the-art Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine offers a larger opening than a traditional MRI and has a shorter gantry, meaning it has less enclosed space. That's important because it can accommodate larger patients and because it means less claustrophobia for patients.
Bobby Beeman, marketing and public relations coordinator for OMC, said the MRI, developed by GE, offers top-quality images and is on par with MRIs offered in Seattle-area hospitals, Deby King, director of diagnostic imaging for OMC, further praised the new equipment. "This MRI offers a good range of functions and the field strength is the industry's best known and most used. It is not only a 'workhorse,' but it offers a patient-friendly space that helps alleviate anxiety for larger patients, children and those who don't like tighter spaces.
"The improved patient experience goes beyond the comfort of space - it also offers shorter scan time and optimum results."
There's one more plus: the large one-way window in the room housing the new MRI overlooks the strait. The shorter bore magnet means most patients can enjoy the view during most exams.
Preparing for an MRI
Preparation for an MRI is fairly minor, Beeman said, however, patients should notify the technologist if they are pregnant, breast-feeding or diabetic.
All metal must removed prior to the exam, including hairpins, hearing aids, jewelry, snaps and zippers. MRIs are highly magnetic and these objects can become dangerous to anyone in the room. Patients also must inform the technologist if they have an aneurysm, a pacemaker, prosthesis or any metal objects in their body.
Beeman said options are available to patients who may experience claustrophobia, including testing out the MRI table prior to an exam to gauge their comfort level or working with their primary care provider to prescribe anti-anxiety medication. Beeman said OMC's diagnostic imaging staff works hard to provide a comfortable experience for all patients.
MRIs use radiofrequency waves and a strong magnetic field to take pictures of the body in narrow slices. Once assembled in the computer, these pictures provide clear and detailed images of the problem area. To learn more about Olympic Medical Imaging Center and the diagnostic imaging services offered, log on to www.olympicmedical.org or call 565-9003.