Breckenridge Texan

Stephens Memorial Hospital adds nuclear medicine imaging lab

Stephens Memorial Hospital adds nuclear medicine imaging lab
January 14
14:08 2019

With a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Thursday, Jan. 10, Stephens Memorial Hospital formally introduced its new Nuclear Medicine Imaging Lab to the Breckenridge community.

Ambar Paranjabe, left, and James Avery, back, with Heart Care Imaging Inc., show the Stephens Memorial Hospital’s nuclear medicine imaging lab to Dr. Susan Badidi. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The nuclear imaging machine gives SMH the ability to offer a variety of scans for which local residents have previously had to travel to Abilene or Fort Worth.

The hospital has teamed up with Heart Care Imaging Inc., which provides the specialists to conduct the scans and tests. Ambar Paranjape, a nuclear medicine specialist with Heart Care Imaging, said he currently comes to Breckenridge twice a week to perform the tests but will increase the number of appointment days as necessary.

“This is a wonderful piece of equipment and a wonderful lab that we have that’s available to serve Stephens County and all the patients that we see here at the hospital and in our community,” Matt Kempton, SMH administrator, said during the ribbon cutting. “It provides a service to the people within our community so that they don’t have to drive out of our community for these same services.”

The scans include: nuclear stress tests, bone scans, gastric emptying studies, GI bleed scans, lung scans, HIDA scans, parathyroid scans, renal scans. The most common exams that are offered are myocardial scans for the heart, skeletal scans for bones and GI scans for the gall bladder, Paranjabe said. One benefit of the nuclear scans is that they can often lead to earlier diagnoses than other tests, he said.

The nuclear imaging scans are different than CT scans (aka CAT scans) or MRIs but can be used in conjunction with the other tests so that doctors can give a more precise diagnosis.

“When you look at an x-ray or a CAT scan, what you’re seeing is anatomy, morphology. When you look at a nuclear image, you’re actually seeing function,” Paranjabe said. “So, you’re not really seeing the anatomy; you’re seeing how the anatomy’s working.”

For example, he said, with the myocardial exams, the specialists can look at how the patient’s heart is beating in real-time. “That gives the cardiologist an idea of how much damage there is or if the heart is functioning normally,” Paranjabe said.

The various tests range in length of time from about 20 minutes for a bone scan to up to two hours for a cardiac stress test and up to four hours for a gastric emptying test, but most exams tend to take about an hour, he said.

For more information about the SMH Nuclear Medicine Lab, call the hospital at 254-559-2241.


Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Stephens Memorial Hospital Administrator Matt Kempton, center, cuts the ribbon, held by Abigail Valdez, LVN, left, and Susie Pennartz, administrative assistant, right, as a group of community members and medical professionals look on from the new nuclear medicine imaging lab. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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