By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley’s new magnetic resonance imaging scanner, lowered via crane through the roof of a modular building dedicated to the unit, will be operational by year’s end.
The MRI scanner, a MAGNETOM Aera 1.5T MRI, is made by Siemens Healthcare.
“The new MRI will provide higher-quality images more quickly, enabling pediatric physicians to make more accurate diagnoses,” said Dr. David W. McDonald, pediatric radiologist at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley.
The software package with the Aera MRI is much more advanced than that of the 1995 MRI it replaced, said Dr. McDonald, a 1996 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School and a 2002 graduate of Northeast Ohio Medical University.
The 10,000-pound MRI’s 15-by-60-foot modular building was delivered last week, and the MRI was put into place Tuesday. Adjacent to the MRI and its modular container is a sedation suite for smaller children who can’t remain still for MRIs. The entire project, designed by Rodney Lamberson, a partner with Strollo Architects, cost about $2 million, hospital officials said.
In additional to sharper images, the Aera MRI enhances diagnoses in clinical applications, including neurology, orthopedics, arthrography, and fetuses in helping to detect problems in unborn babies, said Ron Bucci, interim vice president in charge of radiology at Akron Children’s main and Mahoning Valley campuses.
“Our goal is to have the same capabilities at the Mahoning Valley and other campuses as we have at the main campus in Akron, which has three MAGNETOM Aera MRIs,” Bucci said.
Having the Aera MRI at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley means patients and their families do not have to travel to Akron, Cleveland or Pittsburgh to get the service, said Lisa Taafe, clinical administrative director at the Boardman hospital.
“Transportation to out-of-area hospitals can be a problem and expensive,” she said.
Also, hospital officials said, the MAGNETOM Aera has an open-bore design, which helps reduce the closed-in feeling patients may feel in traditional MRIs; and the short magnet allows for many examinations to be performed with the patient’s head outside of the system, making it a good option for patients who are claustrophobic.