Abrazo Health officials call device a ‘big lift’ for heart month
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital opened American Heart Month with a special delivery: a new cardiac magnetic resonance imaging system featuring a magnet roughly 30,000 times stronger than Earth’s magnetic pull.
The 5-ton magnet required a special heavy duty crane to lower into the hospital, and workers needed to remove and reinstall windows, doors and walls to move the 7 ft. x 7 ft. magnet into the building, according to a press release.
Doctors at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, 1930 E. Thomas Road. in Phoenix, use cardiac MRI to detect or monitor cardiac disease through detailed pictures of the structures within and around the heart, the release states.
“Cardiac MRI is a tool unique in its capabilities,” said Dr. Nickalaus Gramze, a cardiologist and medical director of cardiac imaging at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. “It is able to identify normal muscle from scar tissue, observe normal and abnormal blood flow within the heart, measure blood flow across the heart valves and in arteries, identify tumors and masses, and create 3D models to aid in understanding of each individual’s unique anatomy and physiology.”
MRI technology can also be used to see the major arteries within the body to assess for aneurysms or blockages — all without radiation exposure or potentially dangerous iodine-based contrast use, the release states.
“Cardiac MRI can accomplish much of what is traditionally done in an echocardiogram or nuclear stress test but with a much higher degree of accuracy, reliability and safety,” added Dr. Gramze.
Because an MRI magnet is “always on” once it is installed and operational, safety precautions are needed. Special screening is required of all individuals to ensure no metal object are present, and MRI room walls are constructed with radio frequency shielding to mitigate the strong magnetic pull.
“Abrazo continues to invest in its hospitals with upgraded technologies, facility improvements and recruiting excellent staff and physicians. This is a great way to start 2023 and kick off Heart Month with additions to our hospital that benefit quality patient care,” said Stephen Garner, CEO of Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital and Abrazo Arrowhead Campus.
Cardiac MRI services continue in the hospital’s existing imaging suite, with the new, second MRI expected to enter service in the spring, officials there say.