New MRI more ‘patient-friendly,’ Aspen Valley Hospital says |

New MRI more ‘patient-friendly,’ Aspen Valley Hospital says

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Aspen Valley Hospital officials say their new “Open Bore, 1.5 Tesla, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system” has a larger bore to better accommodate patients who have felt claustrophobic, or have been too large to fit into the tighter confines of older machines, which they believe will be welcome news to patients.

“Patients who are claustrophobic or too large to fit inside the bore of many high-field MRI magnets often have imaging studies done in open MRI systems with low-field magnets,” noted a statement issued by the hospital. “The low-field magnet limits the diagnostic usefulness of the images obtained.”

But with the new machine, called the Espree, the hospital hopes to provide better service to its customers.

“This patient-friendly magnet, with the open bore design, helps overcome barriers for certain patients,” said Bart Outzen, director of the AVH Diagnostic Imaging Department, in a statement. “Patients who might otherwise have to compromise quality in a low-field magnet, or be sedated in the typical small bore magnet, now have the benefit of both an open bore and high quality images.”

The new machine boasts clearance of almost 1 foot of free space between a patient’s head and the magnet, and “the shortest 1.5 Tesla magnet available,” the statement continues.

At approximately 4 feet in length, the magnet allows more than 60 percent of exams to be completed with the patient’s head outside the bore, helping to ease claustrophobia. In addition, the Espree can perform advanced studies in less time because of a coil design that enables the highest resolution images in a shorter amount of time.

The new MRI cost $1,650,000, with an additional $750,000 being spent on ancillary items and renovations to accommodate the new equipment. The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation contributed $825,000 ” one half the price of the actual magnet ” toward the purchase.

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