acquires DEXA scanner
St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics recently acquired a bone densitometry scanner. The General Electric DEXA unit provides a bone density scan, typically of each hip and the lumbar, or lower, spine. It is used to diagnose osteopenia or osteoporosis by measuring the mineral density of bone. The digitized medical images and measurements will be read by a radiologist, used by the patient’s health care provider and also become part of the patient’s electronic medical record.
Earlier this year the Cottonwood Lions Club contributed $1,000 towards the purchase. Bone density is of special concern for elderly patients. Many older women, especially, suffer from thinning bones and are then at risk for hip and other fractures.
“Members of the SMHC Radiology Department have received training on the equipment. The scan only takes about 15 minutes and the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure,” said Steve Wilson, Manager, SMHC Radiology Department. “If their health care provider orders both screens, women can have both their mammogram and their bone density scan at the same appointment. It will be convenient and easy.”
SMHC contracts with St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to provide mobile mammography services and with Gritman Memorial Hospital, Moscow, for ultrasound services. The SMHC DEXA scanner is located in the hallway across from the chapel.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about half of women and a quarter of men over the age of 50 will have osteoporosis-related fractures in their lifetimes. One in five people who get hip fractures require long term care afterwards.
“It will be great to have a DEXA scan machine locally because it will help in identifying pathology early to help prevent fractures,” said Don Murphy, SMHC Physical Therapist and Lions Club member. “Earlier diagnosis can lead to better treatment and a healthier life for our patients. In the past our patients have had to commute to Lewiston for the scan, but now we can provide it locally which is a boon to the people we serve. We certainly appreciate the generosity of the Lions Club.”
The SMHC Radiology Department is staffed 24/7 on site or on call by the five person Radiology team. The Radiology techs spend two years in training and doing clinical rotations before receiving their certification.