Decatur County Hospital To Install Permanent In-House MRI in Early 2024

At Decatur County Hospital we believe in striving to exceed the expectations of our patients, their families, and our community. We are committed to evolving to meet the needs of our community.

As technology continues to change and improve, so does the availability of services and equipment offered at DCH. Currently, we utilize a mobile MRI service. While this has been a great service for DCH, we have limited control over the availability for appointments which causes the inability to schedule our patients on a day and time that works best for them and/or our providers. It also eliminates our ability to do MRIs on acute issues that come through our Emergency Room when an MRI tech is not on-site.

Recognizing the need to evolve to meet the needs of our community, we are excited to announce that in early 2024 we will install a permanent MRI on-site. For the first time in Decatur County Hospital’s history, MRI will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This will allow constant access to technology enhancing our providers’ ability to diagnose and track the progression of 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. This new machine will be installed in the former Cardio-Pulmonary space near the surgery department.

One area in which the greatest benefit will be seen is in our popular neurology program. With our neurologist, Dr. Maher Loutfi, on site 2 weeks per month, and on call for emergency consultation, we will be able to 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.

The General Electric (GE) SIGNA™ 1.5T MRI is designed to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and maximize diagnostic potential while keeping the patient’s experience and comfort in mind. Equipped with the latest in MRI scanning capabilities, MRI scans will take less time, provide clearer images, and be more comfortable for patients with air coil technology built into the scanning bed.

Specifically, this new MRI scanner includes advanced applications that will allow significant expansion of examinations including those not typically performed today such as: multi-phase liver, liver fat quantifications and iron loading, advanced female pelvis imaging, rectal cancer staging, and prostate examinations. It will allow significant expansion of neurology and musculoskeletal imaging in the presence of metal implants, and American College of Radiology (ACR)-compliant breast examinations.

Other capabilities that are included will aid in the ability to complete a quality, routine exam. The features of this scanner allow for 1) free breathing acquisition techniques for those who cannot comply due to health or hearing impairment or those who are unable to comprehend typical breath hold commands, 2) motion elimination techniques for those unable to hold still due to physiologic or pulsatile motion, 3) rapid scanning techniques for those unable to withstand long scans, 4) silent scan capabilities for those intolerant of loud noise, and 5) the ability to complete bone imaging in patients that cannot or should not be exposed to ionizing radiation.

Bringing this MRI unit and service in-house will increase our patient satisfaction by allowing you to travel within the hospital building to our scanner, versus needing to travel outside to the mobile truck in all kinds of weather. This will allow patients will be more comfortable during your transport to and from the scanning room, and you will be able to be in a temperature-controlled environment during the entirety of your scan.

This technology at Decatur County Hospital will allow our community members to get appropriate testing close to home, without waiting weeks or even months for a diagnosis and a proper course of action to treat cancers or other illnesses. If you or someone you know are looking for specialty care, call us at 641-446-2285 to learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today.