By CYNTHIA McCLOUD
For The State Journal
St. Joseph's Hospital of Buckhannon has updated its ultrasound equipment, and it's not just expectant mothers who benefit.
"It's basically the best and newest technology that's out there," said Dr. David Rosiello, medical director of imaging. "It's got a lot of bells and whistles. Over time the technology keeps improving. This is a reflection of what's available now.
"We chose the GE LOGIQ E9 from GE Healthcare and we got a nice 3-D and 4-D imaging package," he said, explaining that the 4-D means the image is set in motion.
"It gives excellent pictures of anything," Rosiello said.
It is used for all sorts of diagnosis procedures — not just fetal exams, but of course St. Joseph's uses it to give expectant mothers the first look at their babies.
"It helps us detect fetal anomalies, detecting things like cleft lip and cleft palate, any kind of fetal anomaly you might notice, something that's not shaped right, the shape of the feet, are there five digits," Rosiello said.
Thousands of ultrasound tests are done every year in the United States. An ultrasound is a non-invasive medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal body structures and organs as well as to show blood flow through vessels. Sound waves are sent and received by a hand-held device called a transducer that is placed on the body.
One of the features of the GE LOGIQ E9 is it can accommodate any sized patient, from small pediatric patients to the obese, thanks to a technology called Agile Acoustic Architecture.
"The larger the patient is, the harder it is to get that sound wave to go in and bounce off the organ and come back to you," Rosiello explained. "They're getting good at directing the beam in such a way that the computer can detect that return wave."
This machine's new high-frequency transducer also increases the resolution and detail in breast tissue and thyroid nodules, standardizing the labeling, measuring and describing of lesions and nodules in breasts and thyroids, according to GE Healthcare.
Other features include:
The equipment upgrade is something the hospital planned and budgeted for, Rosiello said.
"A good ultrasound machine might be good for two or three years," he said. "You can run it for five or six or seven, but you fall behind on the technology curve.
"The hospital had built into its budget that every two to three years it's going to look at getting a new machine. It's getting more difficult for small, rural-type hospitals to get by. There's a lot of competition and declining reimbursement for health care."
Rosiello said his group of radiological physicians reads scans for several regional hospitals and images taken at St. Joseph's are up to par with all of them.