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January 23, 2014

Bassett upgrades to 'gold standard' technology

Patients who may have experienced discomfort during a past MRI can breathe a sigh of relief with the introduction of new MRI technology at Bassett Medical Center.

The wide-bore 3 Tesla MRI allows for patient comfort and crystal-clear images, according to the release, which said the MRI features the most-advanced technology in the field and is now being used to perform cardiac MRI at Bassett.

Dr. Daniel Katz, Bassett cardiovascular MRI director, said cardiac MRI provides a non-invasive, safe way to examine a variety of heart conditions, including Coronary Artery Disease, Cardiomyopathies, Valvular Heart Disease. Pericardial Disease, Congenital Heart Disease, cardiac masses and diseases of the aorta.

According the the release, the cardiac MRI utilizes a large magnet and radiofrequency waves to create detailed pictures of major blood vessels and the beating heart. This allows doctors to evaluate the heart’s structure and condition.

“Because the images are so detailed and clear,” Katz said, “cardiac MRI is now considered the ‘gold standard’ imaging for evaluating heart function.”

Zachary Huston, a cardiologist at Bassett, said previously, evaluation of the heart was done with cardiac catheterization. Huston said cardiac MRI provides a non-invasive avenue for this, while offering much better image resolution.

“The cardiac MRI provides better definition of cardiac structures,” Huston said. “It can differentiate between types of tissue, and determine whether bypassing or a stent would be beneficial for weakened hearts.”

Huston said the wide opening of the MRI machine limits claustrophobic tendencies and provides more comfort to patients than ever before.

“It is a good fit for a lot of different types and sizes of patients,” Huston said.

Huston also said the MRI is safer than other practices because it doesn’t involve radiation exposure as nuclear imaging does.

Katz said he anticipates using the cardiac MRI technology in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of heart disease among patients.

“MRI is a powerful tool in the evaluation of cardiovascular disease,” Katz said, “... we can use (it) to evaluate a patient and determine the best course of treatment.”

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