Comprehensive Neurology Care at Decatur County Hospital

We know that you want to have access to the best care possible to meet your health care needs. When you need a specialist, you don’t want to feel like “just a number.” You want to see a provider who spends time with your, provides high-quality care, has access to a well-rounded set of services, and has appointments available quickly. Decatur County Hospital provides exactly that for you and your loved ones.

In the DCH Outpatient Clinic, we pride ourselves on providing access to specialty services that are not available elsewhere in our region. One of the clinics that has grown exponentially since introducing it just over four (4) years ago is Neurology. Dr. Maher Loutfi, MD, is a board-certified Neurologist who provides specialty care ten (10) days each month over two (2) consecutive weeks, and he remains on-site during those two weeks to provide emergency support for a total of twelve (12) days. Dr. Loutfi is also available for after hours appointments on certain days each month for patient convenience.

With our continued focus on the growth of this service, Decatur County Hospital is now the top choice for comprehensive non-surgical neurological care. With the following services available on site, we are a “one stop shop” for all your neurological health care needs:

Appointment Availability: Neurology appointments are available ten (10) days each month, and on-site emergency neurological consultation is available twelve (12) days each month.

On-site and at-home electroencephalograms (EEGs). An EEG uses small electrodes (discs) to measure electrical activity in the brain to diagnose a seizure disorder (such as epilepsy), evaluate brain activity after a head injury, identify brain dysfunction that may result from other brain disorders, diagnose sleep disorders, or to look for other advanced neurological diseases. Our staff is specially trained to complete on-site EEG testing for patients in the DCH Outpatient Clinic, patients in our Emergency Department, and other patients as needed. On-site EEGs are not available at many facilities in our region, and often have long wait times for appointments. Now that we can also offer in-home EEGs, patients can complete longer-term (24- to 72-hour) scans when needed, from the comfort of their own home. These patients are now able to get the scan they need, without major disruption to their daily routine. By adding this service, we hope to save you the stress and hassle of traveling to “the big city” to get a scan that could help diagnose and direct treatment for a neurological condition.

In-house nuclear medicine. As technology continues to change and improve, so does the availability of services and equipment offered at DCH. We now have the capability to diagnose and track the progression of Parkinson’s disease through a dopamine transporter scan (DaTscan). This is a diagnostic imaging technique that helps neurologists see detailed pictures of the brain’s dopamine system. It can help diagnose Parkinson’s disease, and can also differentiate between Parkinson’s and essential tremor. In addition to specific uses for neurological concerns, our nuclear medicine scanner can help track heart disease, evaluate thyroid function, detect obstruction of the renal blood flow, locate cancerous tissue, evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints, and to find bone diseases and tumors. Appointments are available six (6) days per month.

In-house MRI. We are excited to announce that in June 2024, we will add the in-house diagnosis capability of the GE SIGNA™ 1.5T MRI machine. Equipped with the latest in MRI technology, this machine is designed to increase efficiency, improve productivity and maximize diagnostic potential while keeping your patient’s experience and comfort in mind. For the first time in Decatur County Hospital’s history, MRI will soon be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With the addition of this coverage, we will expand our ability to quickly diagnose and develop a treatment plan for emergent and ongoing neurological concerns. This includes the ability to better recognize and manage strokes, and decreases the wait time to get a diagnosis that may help us recognize and treat a life threatening event.

In-house infusion for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that gets worse over time. It may happen when a protein called amyloid continuously builds up in a patient’s brain, forming harmful amyloid brain plaque. Though there are different types of amyloid proteins, all of them can damage brain cells. A new medication (LEQEMBI), delivered via infusion, works on fighting Alzheimer’s disease in 2 ways: 1) targeting the different types of harmful amyloid proteins, and 2) helping to remove existing amyloid brain plaque. In an 18-month study of people with early Alzheimer’s disease, LEQEMBI was proven to slow the progression of early Alzheimer’s disease. Even though we cannot stop Alzheimer’s disease from getting worse, we can take steps to slow how fast it progresses. Our specially training infusion nurses are fully equipped to deliver this new treatment in our brand new infusion center which can serve up to ten (10) patients at a time.

In-house CT. Our permanent CT machine, with the capability of scanning at up to 128-slices, has a multitude of benefits including clearer images with a higher resolution, better recognition of metal artifacts in the body, faster set up to allow faster scans, customized scan settings for complex cardiac procedures, specialized stroke assessment, and expanded reporting. This scanner is on the cutting edge of CT technology. It is one of the most advanced scanners in our region, and allows providers like you to request more advanced scans to ensure you get the best tools possible to guide your patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

On-site PET scan. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that produces images of organs and tissues at work. The test uses a safe, injectable radiotracer, and the scanner detects diseased cells that absorb large amounts of the radiotracer, which indicates a potential health problem. These scans are often used to determine neurological issues not otherwise seen on other scanners. PET scans are available on-site at Decatur County Hospital twice each month.

Monthly Parkinson’s disease support group. If you or a loved one are living with Parkinson’s disease, you might feel isolated from peers and looking for support. We believe that support for individuals living with these conditions should be accessible, and improve quality of life. Because of this belief, we are proud to host a monthly Parkinson’s disease support group for patients living with Parkinson’s disease, no matter where they live. Each month, we host those living with Parkinson’s, and their care partners. During each gathering, DCH staff facilitate conversation to talk about living with a neurological condition, and line up guest speakers and programs. Group members have an opportunity to share coping strategies for surviving the day-to-day reality of living with a neurological condition. This group is FREE to anyone who RSVPs, and a meal is provided. Each meeting starts at 11:30 am.

To schedule your appointment, or to inquire about scheduling testing at our facility, please call 641-446-2285. Depending on your insurance, you likely do not need a referral to use our comprehensive services.