Hospital adds new MRI machine

Published 1:43 pm Friday, March 14, 2014


A new MRI machine has been installed at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital’s diagnostic department.

A state-of-the-art MRI machine at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital will be up and running by April.

The Optima MR450w machine was delivered in February and is expected to be operational by April, according to hospital CEO Mike Marshall.

“Our new MRI machine is designed to help maximize comfort for our patients while delivering uncompromised image quality,” Marshall said.

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Installing the new MRI was no easy task — crews had to knock out a wall to remove the old machine and do extensive renovations to make the room compatible with the more modern MRI.

The hospital hopes to complete construction in the next few weeks and have the unit fully functioning next month.

The new MRI features a wide bore and field of view that will make scans accessible to more patients as well as strong whole-body gradients that will yield fast, accurate and highly reproducible scans, Marshall said.

“An added bonus to patient comfort with this machine is that it is very quiet,” Marshall said. “The silent scan technology developed by GE makes the MRI as silent as a whisper.”

The new MRI will also give the hospital the capability to do MRAs and kidney studies.

Similar to a MRI, an MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) is a test that allows doctors to view inside the body, but more specifically, to view the condition of blood vessels in patients who have suffered a blood clot, stroke, heart disease or related health problem.

The new machine is the finishing touch on years of improvements for BWWMH’s diagnostic imaging department.

Over the last five years, the hospital has added a GE NM360 nuclear medicine scanner, an Aquilion 64 CFX 64-slice CT scanner, a Selenia digital mammography unit and a Discovery bone densitometry unit.

“Our diagnostic imaging department is one of the most up-to-date in west Alabama, and we draw patients from throughout the Black Belt,” Marshall said.

The hospital plans to have an open house some time later this spring to let the public get an up-close look at the revamped department.