CT Scanning for Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 1998, there were an estimated 160,000 deaths from lung cancer. The cure rate is only 12% and the 5 year survival is only slightly higher. Currently, routine chest x-rays are not recommended because they cannot identify tumors early enough to save or even prolong lives. Almost 85% of lung cancers are now discovered at a late stage.
Recent studies show that high speed CT scanners greatly improve the likelihood of detection of malignant disease, 4 times higher than that of chest x-rays. Of those detected, 87% were found at stage I. When stage I cancer is resected, 5 year survival can be as high as 70%. This CT screening requires less than 20 seconds of scanning time and requires no intravenous contrast material. The radiation dose is similar to that of a chest x-ray and can be done at our facility with a quick, painless procedure.
CT Scanning for Heart Disease
Healthcare Associates of Texas is pleased to announce that new preventative methods are available now. We now have a high speed helical CT scanner capable of screening for coronary calcifications to predict the probability of heart disease as well as lung scanning to detect cancers as small as 5 mm.
Every 20 seconds someone has a heart attack and almost 1/3 of the them have no prior symptoms. Calcium scoring can identify as much as 93% of these “at risk” patients before the heart attack occurs. Anatomic studies have established that coronary vessel calcification is associated with atherosclerotic disease. The more extensive the calcification, the more frequent and more severe the degree of stenosis of the coronary vessels. With the new CT scanner we can detect the degree of calcification and thus the risk of a cardiovascular event.
The American Heart Association has determined that confirmation of coronary calcifications is clinically significant for the following patients:
- Patients with symptoms of chest pain
- Asymptomatic patients with increased coronary risk factors (hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, family history of cardiac disease, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle)
- Monitoring of patients with known arteriosclerosis
The procedure is performed in our facility in an open chamber, is quick, painless and requires no intravenous contrast material.
A virtual colonoscopy (sometimes called a computed tomography colography) is a non-invasive procedure, meaning the screening is done completely outside the body. A virtual colonoscopy requires the same advance preparation as a standard colonoscopy.
During the virtual colonoscopy procedure, the physician inserts a small tube into the rectum to fill the colon with air. Then, instead of inserting a colonoscope into the rectum and through the colon like in a traditional colonoscopy, the physician uses MRI or CT scan technology to examine the colon from outside the body. The physician then carefully analyzes these images. If an abnormality is found, a traditional colonoscopy is required for further examination.
Virtual colonoscopy is a minimally invasive, safe and more comfortable procedure for colon screening. Recent studies have shown it to be comparable to conventional colonoscopy for finding polyps larger than one centimeter. The risk of cancer in smaller polyps is almost negligible. With virtual colonoscopy, 100% of the colon surface can be seen. It is estimated that physicians only see 70%-80% of the colon surface with conventional colonoscopy. Benefits of a virtual colonoscopy are:
- A minimally-invasive procedure
- No risk of perforating the colon
- A less than half an hour examination as opposed to 2 hours
- Enhanced detection of polyps as small as 3mm
- More comfortable, agreeable preparation
- No patient sedation
A less expensive, more efficient examination
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is the method by which a patient’s bone mineral density (BMD) is measured to determine the strength of your bones; and thereby, is an excellent diagnostic tool for the presence of osteopenia or osteoporosis.
DEXA uses two different X-ray beams. The amounts of each X-ray beam that are blocked by bone and soft tissue are compared to estimate the bone density. DEXA is the most accurate method for measuring BMD. It is fast and uses very low doses of radiation. DEXA measures bone mineral density on bones of the spine and hip. Under good conditions, DEXA can measure as little as 2% of bone loss per year. Bone loss is a normal part of the aging process but medical intervention is possible once properly diagnosed.
Some risk factors that individuals should keep an eye on are: low bone mass, being thin (under 127 lbs.), advanced age of 65 or older, family history of osteoporosis, personal history of fracture after age 50, estrogen deficiency from menopause, low testosterone levels in men, inactive lifestyle, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and anorexia nervosa.
For information on osteoporosis detection and treatment click here.
Healthcare Associates MRI is now offering an MR imaging system utilizing the Hitachi Echelon. The Echelon provides advanced imaging capabilities such as high resolution thin slice imaging, MR angiography and dynamic imaging of joints with a complete set of RF specialty coils designed for comfortable imaging of the head, spine, pelvis, abdomen and extremities.
Patients will find a comfortable environment during their MR examination.
Our facility is available Monday thru Friday from 7am to 7pm and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. We participate in most major healthplans and have staff available to answer any questions or to assist with scheduling or insurance confirmation.
Nuclear medicine specialists use safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique, because it provides doctors with information about both structure and function. It is a way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of a disease – long before many medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests.
Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose and treat disease. In imaging, the radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged. In treatment, the radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated. The amount of radiation in a typical nuclear imaging procedure is comparable with that received during a diagnostic x-ray, and the amount received in a typical treatment procedure is kept within safe limits.
The terms sonogram and ultrasound are used interchangeably. Ultrasound is a test that uses reflected sound waves to produce an image of organs and other structures in the body. It does not use X-rays or other types of possibly harmful radiation.
For ultrasound testing, gel or oil is applied to the skin to help transmit the sound waves. A small handheld instrument called a transducer is passed back and forth over the area of the body being examined. The transducer sends out high-pitched sound waves (above the range of human hearing) that are reflected back to the transducer. A computer analyzes the sound waves and converts them into a picture that is displayed on a TV screen. The picture produced by ultrasound is called a sonogram, echogram, or ultrasound scan. Pictures or videos of the ultrasound images may be made for a permanent record.
Ultrasound is most useful for looking at organs and structures that are either uniform and solid (like the liver) or fluid-filled (like the gallbladder).