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Oakes Community Hospital Radiology Department in a medical minute

The Oakes Times of Oakes, North Dakota

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Oakes Community Hospital Radiology department offers many services to meet the needs of our community members. In addition to the standard x-ray, CT, and ultrasound diagnostic tests, we offer MRI, nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy studies, mammograms, electro-encephalograms, DEXA scans and electro-cardiograms.

All radiologic procedures done at OCH are electronically sent to a Radiologist for interpretation, and are stored electronically in our computer system. This means that your test results are easily sent on to specialists or your primary provider if needed. They can also be burned to a DVD and given to a patient to take to their provider.

Reasons your provider might order an x-ray include pain, suspicion of a fracture, or difficulty breathing. An x-ray can show solid structures such as bones and dense organs. Air and less dense organs appear black on an x-ray, which is also helpful in making a diagnosis.

CT Scans (CT scans) are usually ordered to more closely examine soft tissues. They are frequently used to identify renal stones, tumors, or strokes. A CT scan takes several images of the body in "slices" that can be reconstructed to obtain a better picture of the problem area. Sometimes dye (or contrast) is used to highlight certain areas. This may be injected for some scans, or given as a liquid medication for others.

Ultrasound is available 3 days per week and uses an ultrasonic probe to view real-time images of infernal structures. Ultrasounds of the heart are known as echocardiograms and can show the efficiency of blood flow. To look for blood clots in the legs an ultrasound known as a Doppler may be performed. Ultrasound is also used to diagnose appendicitis, and in prenatal care to visualize the fetus.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is usually used to evaluate problems of the spine, nervous system, or joints. It uses magnetic fields to produce images of the body without requiring any radiation. Because of the strong magnets used, people with pacemakers or aneurysm clips cannot have MRIs. A questionnaire is required prior to any MRI to evaluate the possibility of metal in the body.

Nuclear scans can be used to identify infections or cancers of the bones, gallbladder function, and cardiac function. A radioactive agent is injected into your blood stream to allow visualization of the target region.

Fluoroscopy is a real-time x-ray that can track the progress of a contrast material or allow a provider to see the exact placement of a device as it is being inserted. This is often used for bowel studies such as barium enemas and pain management procedures such as joint injections.

The imaging test used to screen for breast cancer is called a mammogram. In this test the breast tissue is compressed between two plates while x-ray images are taken. Diagnostic mammograms can also be performed at OCH, which often involve a compression mammogram and ultrasound to look closely at a suspicious area.

An electro-encephalogram (EEG) is used to record brain wave activity. It is often used to observe for seizures or evaluate other neurological issues. Electrodes are attached to the head for a period of time to monitor the brain waves. This test is sometimes ordered as "sleep deprived" where the patient needs to stay up all night prior to the test.

A DEXA scan (duel-energy x-ray absorbtiometry) looks at the density of bones, muscle, and fat. It is often used to screen for osteoporosis and is done by scanning the spine, hip and wrist and analyzing the measurements to come up with what is called a T-score.

An electro-cardiogram (known as an EKG) measures the electrical activity of the heart. This can show the function of the heart, previous heart attack, and size of the heart. It is usually done as part of a routine physical, and also for people experiencing chest pain or palpitations. 12 patches are attached to the chest and the wires connect to the patches (electrodes) to read the waves. This test requires the patient to lie still and takes only a few minutes.

A cardiac stress test is a continu-' ous EKG performed while increasing the heart rate. This can be done on a treadmill, or using certain drugs if the patient is unable to walk or run due to illness or joint pain. This test can indicate if there is coronary artery disease present. These tests are done with the physician in the room to monitor your heart rhythm and ensure your safety during the exam. The exam will be stopped if you experience chest pain or' an unexpected abnormal rhythm.

If any of these tests are ordered for you by your provider, we can schedule them here, and would be happy to visit with you about options, risks, and benefits! Monica Ptacek, RN Director Ancillary Services Oakes Community Hospital; 701.742.3833

Original Publication Date: January 19, 2012

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