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Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital installs high-performance, wide bore Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system


Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital installs high-performance, wide bore Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system; scans allow for greater patient comfort and diagnostically precise images

(Santa Rosa, CA) - Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has installed GE Healthcare's Optima™ MR450w wide bore magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, the first of its kind in Sonoma County.

The hospital will host an early evening Jan. 8, 2013 open house for physicians and fellow health professionals to showcase this new $3 million MRI system, and the resulting advances in imaging that it makes possible for patients and clinicians. The hospital initially began scanning patients with the new MRI in August 2012, and area patients and doctors are increasingly taking advantage of its advanced capabilities.

Designed with a 70-centimeter, extra wide bore (the circular opening in which a patient rests during a scan), the Optima MR450w offers a range of new functionality that improves patient comfort and provides uncompromised image quality to aid in diagnoses. The 70-centimeter bore enables greater freedom for patient positioning and access for interventional procedures, giving physicians new ways to care for patients. For many exams, a patient's feet go in first – a particular preference for patients who are prone to claustrophobia. The MRI expands Santa Rosa Memorial's capacity to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal, orthopedic or neurological conditions – in patients ranging from young children to adults weighing up to 500 pounds.

Additional features and advantages of the new MRI include:

A large field of view for abdominal imaging: this allows for radiation-free diagnostic testing of the colon and small bowel for patients who formerly would have been exposed to radiation via a CT scan or fluoroscopy.

Whole-body scanning, including two-station spine imaging: this enables unstable patients (those suffering from traumatic injuries or who otherwise have difficulty lying still) to be quickly scanned through one continuous process, without having to move the patient for separate brain and spinal scans.

Non-contrast enhanced vascular imaging: this benefits patients with renal impairment, for whom injecting a contrast-enhancing fluid prior to the MRI can be risky. The new MRI can produce high-quality scans of patients without use of any contrast agent.

Exclusive North Coast provider of MRI scans for patients weighing over 350 pounds: the MRI's wide bore and new table design allow patients weighing more than 350 pounds to comfortably be tested, a service unmatched in our area north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Motion-stabilizing software increases precision and clarity of scans: the new MRI features the technical sophistication to render clear, crisp images even when patients have not been able to rest motionless while being scanned.

Conducive to scanning patients with MRI-safe pacemakers: Santa Rosa Memorial leads all other Bay Area hospitals in conducting MRI tests of patients with MRI-compatible pacemakers, according to Medtronic, which manufactures the MRI-safe Revo cardiac implant. Scans on 20 such pacemaker patients have been performed at Santa Rosa Memorial, Medtronic reports, more than at Stanford, UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center combined.

With an expansive 50-centimeter field of view, Memorial's new high-performance MRI system can cover more anatomy in fewer scans to help reduce patients' anxiety and provide care more quickly and efficiently.

"We can complete imaging studies of our patients 30 percent to 50 percent faster using the new MRI," said Siobhan Nebesky, Imaging Supervisor at Santa Rosa Memorial. "Faster testing means greater peace of mind for patients. Inpatients can return to their rooms sooner and outpatients can reduce their wait inside the hospital."

The new MRI is available by appointment seven days a week – Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is housed in the Imaging department on the ground floor at Santa Rosa Memorial, just off the hospital's main lobby. To schedule an appointment, call (707) 525-5295.

For more information, contact Imaging Supervisor Siobhan Nebesky at

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