Archive for June, 2014

June 30, 2014

Introducing… Indy!

independence-officeIn our final installment of the “Introducing Diagnostic Imaging Centers” series, we’d like to introduce our Independence, Missouri location.

 

Indy, as it is affectionately known, is a wonderful clinic full of compassionate staff and expert radiologists. Found at 4911 Arrowhead Drive, it is conveniently located near the intersection of highways 70 and 470/291.

 

As at most of our offices, we offer a full range of modalities: breast imaging, CT, DEXA (bone density), MRI (both traditional and “open”), nuclear medicine, ultrasound, fluoroscopy and x-ray. Walk-in appointments are available for many modalities, including CT and mammography – have some time? Come on by and our dedicated staff will take care of you!

 

Our patients love the care they receive at this office – from the smiles at the front desk to the above and beyond care they get from technologists to doctors. With good-humored colleagues, the Indy team is serious about their work and lighthearted in their approach to life. From the front desk, to the technologists, they embrace their tasks with professionalism while putting patients at ease. If you require imaging procedures, you have a choice in where to go and the DIC staff at our Independence office and at all of our facilities appreciate you choosing to come to us.

 

Passionate about top quality imaging care, the team at Indy has passions beyond their work. From the Komen Foundation to Head for the Cure to gardening and grandkids, DIC-ers are a caring lot. For our staff, caring about people is more than a job.

 

But to quote LaVar Burton, you don’t have to take our word for it… here’s what our patients had to say about their experiences at our Independence office:

 

“Nikki (front desk) is awesome and smiles every time I am here!”

 

“Stephen went above and beyond for services. Dr. Koury went even farther, if that is possible. Many thanks to both of them!”

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 27, 2014

Health Heroes: Soccer and Child Safety

soccer head case by woodleywonderworks via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)It’s World Cup season and everyone’s having fun (minus a few scrapes, bruises and one bite)! The excitement is contagious and kids and adults alike are running home to grab their own soccer balls and bouncing into the nearest park.

 

What’s not to love?  Running, jumping, kicking… hitting your head?! What? Yes, in a hands-free sport, “headers” are allowed. However new research (and honestly some older research too) is showing this type of soccer play is dangerous, especially to kids.

 

While Abby Wambach made it look cool, it turns out scoring a goal with hard force to the skull can hurt the brain. This is not so cool – particularly for those below the age of 14, when the brain is still developing.

 

A new initiative called Parents and Pros for Safer Soccer has been formed in conjunction with the Sports Legacy Institute and the Santa Clara Institute of Sports Law and Ethics and a number of world renowned soccer players including Brandi Chastain, Cindy Parlow Cone and Joy Fawcett.

 

Parlow Cone was forced to retire from soccer due to head injuries and fatigue – all resulting from a series of concussions across time from headers. She said that when she was a child practicing headers, she thought that “seeing stars” was normal for everyone. Well, it may be a common experience to see stars when subjected to head trauma, but head trauma shouldn’t be so common. Heading is the leading cause of serious injuries in the sport.

 

So during this time of soccer-mania when kids are developing healthy heroes, it’s a good time to note what traits to emulate and what’s age-appropriate for the sport. In this case, no headers for those young developing brains!

 

For more on the topic, the Times has a great article, here.

(Image credit: soccer head case by woodleywonderworks via Flickr Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

NOTES:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/25/sports/worldcup/us-womens-soccer-stars-take-lead-on-risks-of-heading.html?_r=0

June 25, 2014

Lung Cancer Screening Gets Another Leg Up

Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedThe votes in support of low-dose screening CT chest for high risk smokers are growing. Recently the American Medical Association – the largest association of doctors from all specialties in the US – added their support to guidelines recommending this potentially life-saving exam.

 

Lung cancer is a killer. In the US, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast + prostate + colon cancer – more deaths than all of those cancers combined! Studies on low-dose CT screening (the National Lung Screening Trial) showed early detection saves lives! There was a 20% reduction in deaths in heavy smokers from lung cancer due to CT screening in this study. This is why low dose chest CT is so crucial. Finding lung cancer early, when it is potentially treatable is the goal of screening.

 

As accredited members of the American College of Radiology, we are thrilled that the ACR is fighting to support the recommendations of the United States Preventative Services Task Force for high-risk patients. (Read all about it here.) The Task Force recommended coverage beginning January 2015 for high risk patients, including those 55-80 years with significant smoking histories (defined as greater than a 30 pack-year history of smoking) or for those who were former heavy smokers who have quit in the last 15 years. The Task Force recommendations will apply to those patients with insurance.

 

The fight for coverage of Medicare patients is still on-going, and is the focus of the ACR and other groups. The Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advising Committee made a controversial stand against support of low-dose CT screening early this year. Medicare will make its final vote in the fall. We think including Medicare patients in coverage for this important, potentially life-saving exam is crucial.

Make your voice heard – add your vote in favor of low-dose screening CT chest for all who will benefit- including Medicare patients! Contact your local congresspersons (here) and let them know you agree.

(Image credit: Symbol kept vote Green by Zorglub via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 23, 2014

Introducing… DIC’s Northland Clinic!

North OakHappy Monday! We’re excited to continue our Mondays-are-introduction-days series on the Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ clinic. Today we have… the Northland office!

 

It comes as no surprise that, when talking to staff here, the resounding theme of love for their jobs is people – something that all DIC’s locations have in common. They appreciate and respect their co-workers, they love their patients, and they want nothing more than the best possible healthcare experiences for everyone.

 

Some of the ways our team has found to improve the healthcare experience for patients include finding small ways to solve larger problems, such as claustrophobia. Another CT tech explained that he’s learned some basic, important terms (like “hold your breath for a moment please”) in other languages.

 

Whether it’s greeting someone in their native tongue or helping reduce MRI anxiety, caring shines through. We also found that their passions don’t end at the door: from KomenKC to KCPT to the Nelson-Atkins, DIC-ers put their energy into keeping their hometown awesome and everyone healthy. They are an inspiring crew.

 

In North Kansas City, the best “care” in radiology can be found at 5400 North Oak Trafficway (Suites 119, 206), where we perform: bone density (DEXA), mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, x-ray, fluoroscopy and MRI, both “open” and “closed.”

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at    www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at    www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 20, 2014

We Love… The National Stroke Association!

Does the face look uneven by Charles Hope via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Just to be clear, we love the National Stroke Association, which is the opposite of loving strokes. After our series on vascular imaging as well reporting on recent studies on stroke prevention, it’s important to talk about the warning signs, additional prevention and what can be done if someone is suspected of having a stroke.

 

In health, action is everything.- for strokes, time means brain.The longer those neurons or brain cells go without blood flow, the greater their chance of death and loss of function. The sooner we  react to a situation, the better the chances of recovery. This is why it’s important to know the signs of a stroke and what to do if one is happening.

 

First, if you believe a stroke is occurring, call 911 immediately. What are signs of a stroke? They are sudden and can include any of the following: numbness, weakness, confusion, trouble seeing, walking or speaking, and/or severe headache. Nerve changes like numbness and weakness may occur on only one side of the body. Act immediately – time equals brain!

 

Risks for cerebrovascular disease and stroke include modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors. The National Stroke Association has an excellent breakdown of the many, many potential risk factors here. If you have any of these risk factors, from family history of strokes, to diabetes or high blood pressure (to name just a few), extra vigilance and modification of those factors you can control is key.

 

Strokes are disorienting experiences and can present with a wide spectrum of findings, based on which part of the brain is being affected. For an insightful first-person account, Jill Bolte Taylor’s TEDtalk about her experience (“My Stroke of Insight”) is a fascinating video.

 

Because of all their hard work toward the best possible health for all, we love The National Stroke Association. And if you like them too, you can do so here!

(Image Attribution: Does the face look uneven? by Charles Hope via Flickr Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 18, 2014

The Study Is Out: Animal Proteins and Strokes

 

Copper river sockeye smoked salmon mit salat und crumpet 07.04.2012 20-30-53 by Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedNow that we’ve discussed carotid Doppler, CT angiography and MR angiography, here’s a reminder that we are advocates for an ounce of prevention over a pound of cure. Preventing vascular disease is much better than detecting it!

 

According to a recent analysis of seven health studies, one of the best ways to fight stroke is by a healthy diet (pause to act surprised here). One key to that healthy diet is lean animal protein (okay, you’re allowed to be surprised now).

 

The study showed that as lean protein intake increases, stroke risk decreases. This study included over 250,000 patients but was focused on those living in countries where unsaturated, lean proteins like fish are popular. Those who ate 20 additional grams of protein a day had a 26% lower risk of stroke. What is behind the reduced risk is less well-understood. Likely, there are multiple factors involved. For instance, a protein-rich diet can also naturally include extra nutrients like potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, all of which may be stroke deterrents.

 

We should not take this study to mean increase your protein intake without considering the type or quality of the protein -lean animal protein seems to be the key here. While the occasional steak or hamburger is acceptable, increasing your daily dietary intake of these type proteins will not yield the same results seen in this study.

 

The long and the short of it is this: a careful diet is good for you; proteins, including lean animal proteins, seem to help with reducing stroke risk. For further reading, there are articles summarizing the findings here and here.


For your best vascular health, don’t smoke, keep cholesterol and glucose levels healthy, and consider a diet focused on healthy lean proteins.

June 16, 2014

Introducing… Diagnostic Imaging Centers’ Lee’s Summit Clinic!

Lees SummitDiagnostic Imaging CentersLee’s Summit clinic is typical to DIC in their passion for people… and typical in having some lively characters for colleagues!

 

Located just off of 470 in Lee’s Summit, this mid-sized clinic offers a multitude of imaging modalities including bone density, CT, mammograms, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, x-ray and MRI (both “open-sided” and “open-ended”). It also offers a colorful staff of compassionate teammates: from the front desk to the techs to the doctors and manager, everyone has a story.

 

If you’re nervous about your procedure, we won’t just tell you to magically “not be” but we will entertain all questions, and likely as not be entertaining along the way. From the smallest of solutions for curious children to the most thoughtful provisions for claustrophobic adults we make the experiences for our patients as comfortable as possible.

 

When one tech was asked recently about any challenge she encountered and how she solved it. She said there are a lot of interesting opportunities to help different people throughout the day, but in this instance she had to take an x-ray of a small child who had a spectrum disorder. The little one was a bit squirmy and didn’t respond to her usual tricks of showing stickers to get him to hold still.

 

However, when she went to adjust the x-ray film, the machine door made a click sound which mesmerized him. So she played with the door a few times and he finally calmed down enough to take a quick shot. It was a simple ploy, but the heart of the matter was taking the time to find something that worked – and it did! No one was frustrated or at a loss for what to do. It was just a matter of “reading” the patient’s needs and accommodating.

 

What was most interesting about her experience, she explained, was that it was in some ways an “everyday thing.” Needs are different for everyone. Every patient is unique and as long as we keep listening carefully, we can help them all.

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

June 13, 2014

Vascular Series Part 3 – MRA

MRAAs part of our continuing series on vascular health and imaging, we’d like to talk about another way of seeing into your body and imaging blood vessels: MR angiography, or magnetic resonance angiography.

 

MR angiography is different than CT angiography in that it uses MRI or magnetic resonance imaging with no radiation. This is a benefit of MR angiography.  MR angiography may or may not require use of an IV injection. When needed, MR angiography uses a different type of contrast material for injection – gadolinium-based instead of iodine-based. This is particularly helpful for people with iodine-contrast allergies or poor kidney function.

 

MR angiography can be used to image the blood vessels and blood flow. The procedure can produce some truly beautiful pictures of blood vessels (the physics behind creating those images is fascinating – and complex!). The vessel walls and adjacent tissues can be seen, as opposed to traditional angiography which shows only the vessel lumen or the inside of the vessel. CTA is the best tool for showing the walls of the vessels themselves.

 

So, what do we use MRA for?

 

We can use it to evaluate almost any artery or vein in the body. For example, MR angiography of the head (usually done without contrast) is helpful when looking for aneurysms (saclike outpouchings arising from blood vessels which can be deadly or disabling if they bleed) or areas of artery narrowing. To evaluate the abdominal aorta, we can look for aneurysms (abnormal dilatation) or dissection (when there is a tear in the vessel creating two channels). We may be asked to evaluate the renal arteries for narrowings- renal artery stenosis is one of the treatable causes of high blood pressure.  MR angiography can also be used to examine the leg arteries when needing to evaluate for causes of pain when walking.

As we have discussed, there are lots of ways of imaging the blood vessels. Often, ultrasound with Doppler is used first to see if there is a need for further investigation. CT angiography or MR angiography can further define the vessels and identify problems that may need to be addressed either surgically or with interventional radiology procedures (angioplasty, stenting). Traditional catheter angiography is often reserved for those cases that will benefit from vascular intervention.

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 11, 2014

Vascular Series Part 2 – What Is CT Angiography (CTA)?

CTACT angiography, or computed tomography angiography, (now you see why we like to call it CT angiography- such a mouthful!) is a way of imaging the blood vessels and surrounding tissues.

 

Why would we do that? CT angiography is a noninvasive way to exquisitely evaluate blood vessels within the body. With a simple venous injection of contrast we can quickly and elaborately evaluate the artery, the wall of the artery and the surrounding tissues.  Let’s look at an example. Say we need to evaluate patients with suspected narrowing in the neck arteries – CT angiography may follow an abnormal carotid Doppler to confirm how narrow the vessel is and to see if surgery will be necessary. It will show calcifications and noncalcified plaques and show how they affect the lumen (inside of the vessel) of the artery. This test is helpful in planning any necessary surgeries.

 

CT angiography can also be used to look at the arteries in the head for patients with strokes from bleeds. Aneurysms  (focal outpouchings) and their relation to the vessel are well seen and this procedure can help plan interventions needed to address them.

 

So now we know why we need to perform CT angiography, it begs the question, why is this modality of imaging the best choice for a situation? In the past, catheter angiography was the traditional way of imaging blood vessels of all types. However, it involves  putting a catheter through the skin into vessels, usually with an approach through the groin or in the arm. This creates beautiful images of the insides of the vessels, but is associated with some risks related to the catheter and the arterial puncture.

 

CT allows us to get exquisite images of the vessels with an injection into a vein in a less risky fashion while also allowing us to see the blood vessel wall – not just the lumen as is seen in traditional angiography. CT angiography can be used to evaluate blood vessels from the head to the toes and most parts in between.

In some cases, CT angiography has replaced or nearly replaced the need for catheter angiography (CT angiography chest to evaluate for pulmonary emboli or blood clots in the vessels in the lungs is one example). Other times, CT angiography will identify those patients that will benefit from catheter angiography – often this is used when interventions like angioplasty (ballooning narrowed areas in the arteries) or stenting (putting in metal or mesh stents to open up narrowings) are needed.

 

All told, CT angiography may be a lot of syllables but it can save a lot of lives.

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 9, 2014

Introducing… DIC’s Plaza Location!

DIC at plazaThe Plaza office of Diagnostic Imaging Centers (located at 48th and Main, just upstairs from the library) is one of several places we get to call “home.” With staff who have been with us for 40+ years in midtown Kansas City, it pretty much is home!

 

Speaking of homes… just as a home is a place of comfort, we strive to put every person at ease when they come to our home away from home – not  just an office, but a place to come for imaging with care.

 

When talking to the staff at DIC’s Plaza clinic, one of the most resounding points they make about loving the work they do is people: co-workers and patients alike. It’s not just that they care about others, it’s the opportunity to show it that matters.

 

“One of my favorite things about working here is being able to give immediate results for mammograms,” said one tech. Said another, “It’s all about communication.” Being forthright about what’s going on during a procedure is necessary for great results. Whether it’s allowing a young person to hold the wand for an ultrasound or allowing them to put the gel on themselves – anything to take the fear-of-the-unknown out of the equation, that’s what we seek to do.

 

The DIC way of showing we care exists in all ways, large and small. From the first point of contact with a receptionist to the exam itself all the way to the exit door, someone is with you. Everyone who comes to our clinics gets a thank you card with the manager’s number on it should they have any questions or comments.

 

The Plaza location of Diagnostic Imaging Centers is just one more example of how hard we work to give the best possible in imaging. Conveniently located, with convenient hours… we are your home for imaging!

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health atwww.mammographykc.com and general radiology atwww.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!