LRH to Purchase New MRI, Only Wide-Bore MRI in NW Iowa
Lakes Regional Healthcare’s (LRH) Board of Trustees approved the purchase of a 1.5 Tesla wide bore magnetic resonance imaging system (MRI) worth approximately $1.7 million at their September Board meeting.
MRI is used to detect structural or functional abnormalities throughout the body, including the joints, blood vessels, and brain. The new MRI technology the hospital will be purchasing is by Siemens. LRH Radiology Manager Tracy Evans said, “After researching several brands and keeping with our determination to provide patients with the highest quality care available on the market, we determined this unit would best meet the needs of our patients now and for many years into the future.”
The MRI the hospital plans to purchase is a wide bore MRI, which means it has a larger opening and a shorter tunnel than other MRIs. Evans described the differences, “MRIs are available as wide-bore, closed-bore, or open. Closed-bore MRIs have longer tunnels, usually 6’ or longer, and have narrower openings. Open MRIs have no tunnels and a weaker magnet. LRH will be the only healthcare provider in northwest Iowa to have a wide-bore MRI that offers the best possible patient experience while allowing for a high magnet strength, hence the clearest image.”
The hospital’s wide bore MRI will offer several benefits, one of which is quicker exam times. The time spent in the new MRI may be reduced by 2/3 for most exams. In addition, the new MRI caters to larger or claustrophobic patients with a large opening (61 cm versus standard 70 cm) and short tunnel (3’11” versus 6’) compared to most MRIs on the market and in the region. Evans said, “Plus, most MRIs require the patient to go into the MRI head first. LRH’s system will have most of the patients enter the MRI feet first, and most will never even have to have their head in the machine, which is where the claustrophobic feeling often originates.”
Another benefit is the sound-dampening system the wide bore MRI will have. With the new technology, patients may bring in their favorite tape or CD and listen to it while receiving their examination. Evans said, “The new equipment will provide for a very relaxing examination. With other MRIs on the market, people hear loud thumping noises and feel trapped in a long tube. Both of these will be greatly diminished with the technology the hospital is purchasing.”
According to LRH President Jason Harrington, “Purchasing this wide bore MRI is a way we continually reinvest in new, advanced technology. This directly affects the quality of care our patients receive and is one of our strategic commitments to meet our mission to improve the health and well-being of people in the Iowa Great Lakes region.”