When it comes to the emergency room, timing is everything. As modern medicine advances, looking inside the body has become easier and safer. The Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls is using the latest in technology to speed up their patients' diagnosis.
Most people who come to the emergency room are having chest pains and want to find out if they are experiencing a heart attack. A question that can be difficult to answer depending on the situation.
I'm often very reluctant to take an unstable patient and send them to radiology to get a study done." Said Dr. Jeff Anderson, Emergency Room Physician at the Avera Heart Hospital.
That's where the Siemens Mobilett Mira comes in, this device brings state of the art X-Ray to the ER.
"It allows us to take a digital image right at the bedside which we can manipulate and mark as we pull out of the patients room and send the image to the radiologist for reading all within seconds." Said radiologic technologist Jodi Wirtz.
The name Siemens Mobilett Mira is quite the mouthful, so radiologist have nicknamed them "Giraffes" due to their long necks and flexible maneuvering.
Portable x-rays are not new thing in the ER but the Giraffes are a huge step up from their predecessor. Before, radiologists were only able to capture one image on a large cassette, which would then be taken upstairs to radiology, developed, then transferred to a digital image. A lot of work and time spent while the patient waits for a diagnosis.
The Giraffe eliminates all of that, it's like using a digital camera to do the job a Polaroid.
"The imaging is very similar to a stationary room, in fact we've used the portable instead of our stationary room because it's easier." Said Wirtz.
But it's not just one Giraffe at the Avera Heart Hospital, they've got twins. Doctors in the ER have been using them since June and are getting used to the improved patient care.
"We can, for example, get a chest X-Ray, then perform an intervention, and then immediately re-check things and see the efficacy of what our interventions are, basically are we helping the patient?" Said Dr. Anderson.
Not only do the Giraffes speed up the diagnosis, but the amount of radiation is cut by 40-50%. Radiation never leaves your body so the lower dosage is not just a benefit to the patient but the doctors as well.
"We're of course in it everyday and you don't want to get unnecessarily radiated and the patient, you don't want to radiate a patient unnecessarily either so dose reduction is a huge thing." Said Wirtz.
Almost everyday there are advances in modern medicine. These Giraffes are the latest example of how Avera doctors continue to stay on the fore front of technology and are improving patient care.
"Emergency medicine at times is a game of seconds and there's no doubt this technology improves patient care, saves lives, reduces suffering and pain, and I think we can agree that's a worthy goal." Said Dr. Anderson.
The Avera Heart Hospital is looking for your help in naming the twin Giraffe X-Rays. Right now they are simply number 1 and number 2. You can submit your ideas on the Avera Heart Hospital's Facebook page.