A look into some lesser-known imaging services; What they are and why you might need them.
Most everyone has heard of an x-ray and has very likely had one. MRI and Ultrasound seem pretty familiar as well; however, many procedures in Diagnostic Imaging are uncommon yet vital to patient care and the diagnosis of injuries, disease, and ailments.
What is Diagnostic Imaging? Diagnostic imaging allows a provider to look inside your body for clues about a medical condition. A variety of machines and techniques can create pictures of the structures and activities inside your body. Imaging services can include X-rays, CT scans, Nuclear medicine scans, MRI scans, and Ultrasound.
Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress tests.
A nuclear exercise stress test is a diagnostic test used to evaluate blood flow to the heart. During the test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called a gamma camera, detects the radiation released by the tracer to produce computer images of the heart.
Combined with exercise, the test can help determine adequate blood flow to the heart during activity versus rest. A cardiologist or other medical provider might order a nuclear stress test for you if a routine stress test didn’t pinpoint the cause of symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. A nuclear stress test may also be used to guide your treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition. (Mayo Clinic)
“An echo uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels (aorta, arteries, veins) attached to your heart.” There is no pain associated with an echo, and it is a relatively simple test.
A Provider may order an echocardiogram to investigate signs of heart disease or symptoms like shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or swelling in the legs. They might also order an echocardiogram if something abnormal, like a heart murmur, is detected during an exam.
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Intervention
Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to produce pictures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and joints throughout the body. It is used to help diagnose sprains, strains, tears, trapped nerves, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Musculoskeletal Ultrasound is an emerging field focusing on using Ultrasound to diagnose joint disorders and soft tissue problems that would usually have required the use of Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) or an MRI. These procedures have allowed us to inject medications into tiny, specific structures efficiently and cost-effectively while providing much-needed relief to our patients. This leads to patients having an overall better experience.
“We are continuing to find ways to expand the services we offer to our residents. It is our mission to provide quality care close to home. Building trust with our area residents to come to us during their times of need is vitally important to a thriving, healthy community.” – Daniel Holland, Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Bonner General Health.
For a complete list of services provided by Bonner General Health, visit our website www.bonnergeneral.org.
References: Nuclear stress test – Mayo Clinic – Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/nuclear-stress-test/about/pac-20385231
A Cardiologist Answers: What Is an Echocardiogram and Why …. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/a-cardiologist-answers-what-is-an-echocardiogram-and-why-do-i-need-one/
Diagnostic Imaging: MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/diagnosticimaging.html
Ultrasound – Musculoskeletal. https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/musculous
This article was written for publication in Sandpoint Living Local Magazine – August 2021.