Cutting edge equipment at Methodist helps treat serious illnesses 

Apr 12

New technology at the Methodist Hospitals gives doctors the most detailed pictures yet of what goes on inside the brain and other parts of the body.

The imaging tool snaps pictures of the tiniest of blood vessels and most intricate parts of the human anatomy to make diagnosing and treating strokes and other disorders faster and less invasive, medical staff at the hospital said.

Hospital staff went live with the GE manufactured Innova Biplane system in mid-February, and it has been in use nearly every day since, said Laurel Valentino, Methodist Hospitals director of neuroscience -- the science of the brain and nervous system.

"It's multifunctional," Valentino said. "We use it for every procedure we do in the catheterization lab."

The biplane system uses two sets of X-Ray sources and imaging cameras, each able to move independently.

That allows two sets of images to be taken with each injection of the dye used to make blood flow visible.

"It gives us two simultaneous pictures, which obviously reduces the amount of radiation," said Jacqueline Hoekema, interim director of the hospitals' cardiac catheterization lab.

"We get two pictures using the same dose of dye," Hoekema said.

The biplane system adds to treatment options for patients in the hospitals' stroke program, which has won national recognition by health care rating agency HealthGrades, said Sanjeev Maniar, medical director of the stroke program.

Medical staff use the biplane to detect and treat weaknesses in the wall of a vein or artery in the brain or other parts of the body.

Dr. Mayumi Oka, a Methodist Hospitals radiologist specializing in the minimally invasive treatment of nervous system disorders, uses the biplane in stroke treatment.

"The images are much more precise using this equipment," Oka said. "This is essential when treating complex anatomy such as brain vessels."

Three-dimensional software used with the biplane means images "can be turned any which way to see vessels from all angles," Hoekema said. "That would not be possible without the biplane."

Future uses of the imaging tool include for diagnosing and treating heart irregularities, Hoekema said.

Hospital administrators agreed to invest in the technology "to bring the newest technology to Northwest Indiana," Valentino said. "It was driven by patient care."

Methodist Hospitals President and Chief Executive Officer Ian McFadden said the Biplane system is one more example of how the hospital is staying on the cutting edge of medical care.

"We are committed to providing the latest state-of-the-art technology, treatment options and providing the best sub-specialty care in Northwest Indiana so that our residents do not have to travel out of the area to receive superior and excellent quality healthcare," McFadden said.

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