HMC Renovates Angiography, Adds Equipment

HOLYOKE — As part of ongoing efforts to provide a wide range of cutting-edge medical services locally, Holyoke Medical Center recently completed a total renovation of its angiography room.

The room is where staff conduct a wide range of procedures, including arteriograms, portacaths, dialysis catheters, AV fistulagrams, vertebroplasty, and epidural steroid injections. They also perform interventional radiology, which consists of placing stents in leg vessels to open them up, placing IVC filters in patients with pulmonary embolism, and embolizations of different vessels or organs, if needed.

The biggest change in the larger, renovated space is the purchase of a state-of-the-art angiography machine, the Innova 4100 by General Electric, that minimizes how much patients have to be moved around to get good images while maximizing physicians’ ability to take and utilize these images.

This large piece of equipment is completely automated, allowing physicians and nurses to smoothly reposition the table on which patients lie without having to disturb them. The large flat screen that takes the X-rays also moves easily on the axis of the C-arm (so named because it looks like a large letter C).

“It allows us to do the full range of radiology procedures, gets larger images, and gets more coverage because the flat panel detector is 40 centimeters versus the older 16-inch image intensifier that was part of the old system,” said Dr. John Horky, a radiologist at HMC.

Horky also noted that the addition of four new high-definition monitors on the wall is a major improvement. These screens are tied into the hospital’s PACS (picture archiving and communication system), which contains patients’ previous X-ray, MRI, ultrasound, and other images.

“We can call up older images and do comparisons right as we’re working on a patient,” he said. “We can access any image in the PACS system right in the room now, which we couldn’t do before.”

In addition, the new software for the Innova 4100 delivers 3D vascular imaging of vessels, bones, and soft tissues that allows staff to see cross-sections in greater detail.

Laura Maziarz, Holyoke Medical Center’s supervisor of Interventional Radiology, said the new environment is geared toward making the patient more comfortable.

“The colors are designed to put patients at ease, and we can put on their favorite music,” she said. “And because the table is fully automated by the software, patients can pretty much just lie there and relax. The table does all the movement automatically.”

Maziarz added that, while the hospital’s previous angiography room was effective, this new system is a considerable update. “The ease of use and the ability to use low doses of radiation are the best things about it,” she said.

The upgrade was considered carefully, according to Mike Zwirko, vice president of Holyoke Medical Center. “We really took our time and looked at many, many pieces of equipment and selected the best one.”