Radiology Department

Department of Radiology

Welcome to the Radiology Department at the Middle East Hospital. We provide an extensive range of imaging services, including a substantial contribution to emergency services, a very highly regarded interventional radiology service and a comprehensive cross sectional imaging service.

The Department has state of the art equipment to support clinical practice, including a Hitachi Supria CT scanner enabling innovations in the diagnosis of diseases for our patient population. This leading edge technology has reinforced the Hospitals position as a diagnostic provider at the forefront of technological advances.

Modalities - Computed Tomography (CT)

CT scanning is a fast, accurate and non invasive way of producing high quality cross sectional images of the body. It is used to help doctors diagnose and treat many different types of medical conditions.

It consists of a table that the patient lies on and a ‘donut shaped’ scanner gantry that houses an X-ray tube. The patient passes through the scanner as the X-ray tube rotates within the gantry. The scanner uses sophisticated computer technology to detect the X-ray radiation passing through the body and produces detailed cross-sectional images of the different tissues within the body. Different computer software applications can be used to construct images for analysis by a consultant radiologist.

At Middle East Hospital we have a state of the art Hitachi Supria CT scanner, one of its kind in Bahrain. With the ability to scan an entire body part in one rotation and in less than a second, it completes a scan in a fraction of the time compared to previously available CT scanners. This results in the patient’s investigation being completed more quickly, and radiologists able to access the scan results within seconds for a faster diagnosis. The CT scanner also offers the lowest radiation dose available to patients, along with providing a very high scan quality.

Modalities - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A medical imaging modality – which can visualise the insides of the human body in very high detail, MRI is particularly useful when imaging the body’s ‘soft tissues’. This makes it very useful in the detection of various cancers, abnormalities of the brain and heart, and musculoskeletal conditions.

MRI stands for ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’, and the technique utilises magnetism to affect atoms in the body known as protons, which respond to magnetic fields. Organ / tissues are made up of varying water / fat content which produces different types of signal intensity on the images on the various pulse sequences employed by the MRI scanners.

As MRI does not use radiation, it is believed to be one of the safest forms of diagnostic imaging, making it generally an extremely safe procedure. We do however have to carefully screen patients so that they can be imaged safely as there are known contra-indications to MRI such as pacemakers.

Modalities - Ultrasound

Ultrasound is simply a frequency of sound which the (adult) human ear is incapable of detecting. It is used in radiology by emitting soundwaves which reflect back to the detection device, and thus build up a ‘picture’ of the target area. Ultrasound has been used by radiologists for more than 50 years, and is most famously used in the monitoring of the foetus in the womb. It is also, however, useful in visualizing tendons, muscles and various internal organs – indeed, non-obstetric ultrasound examinations constitute 65% of all scans conducted.

Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, and is generally described as a ‘safe test’, meaning that patients can undergo sonography with confidence and without concern. Though ultrasound is capable of ‘heating’ soft tissue, modern ultrasound equipment does not utilise power levels of sufficient intensity to make this heat damaging. Rather, ultrasound is a versatile imaging modality capable of detecting a wide variety of soft tissue conditions.

At Middle East Hospital, our ultrasound team carry out a wide array of ultrasound scans using excellent equipment. We’re proud of our dedicated team of specialists and their high level of experience and expertise, and a number of our sub-specialities make use of this modality in imaging.

The hospital actively prompts role extension with Radiologists continually advancing interventional ultrasound. We also have Sonographers that can perform an extensive range of ultrasound procedures normally preformed by radiologists.

Modalities - Nuclear Medicine Imaging

The Nuclear Medicine Department performs scans and tests which look at how different parts of the body function. About half of scans that are performed are bone scans and these are required for a number of reasons including looking for difficult to detect fractures, loose joint replacements, rheumatology assessments, as well as to exclude secondary tumours after a cancer diagnosis.

Some of the other scans performed include lung scans to look for blood clots (pulmonary emboli), kidney scans to see how the kidneys are functioning or draining, sentinel node scans to show lymph drainage of a tumour prior to surgery, white cell scans to look for infections, brain scans to distinguish between Parkinson’s Syndrome or essential tremor, parathyroid & thyroid scans to look for cysts and lumps, as well as heart scans to look at the blood supply to the heart muscle in those suffering from angina (chest pains), plus many others.

Most scans require the administration of a small injection, similar to a blood test, to introduce a scanning agent. Different scanning agents enable us to scan different parts of the body, and different scans have different delay times. Some scans require you to be scanned immediately after the injection, others after 2, 3, 4, 24 or even 48 hours depending what scan the Doctor or Consultant has asked us to perform.

The scanning agent that is administered contains Gamma Rays, which is a different form of radiation to X-Rays. Gamma rays are produced from the nucleus of the atom, rather than X-rays which are produced from the shells surrounding the atom. It is the Gamma Rays that have been injected that are emitted by the body, and it is the distribution pattern of these emissions that are detected by the scanning camera (called a Gamma Camera), and this information is computed into an image for the Consultant Radiologist to report on.

At the Middle East Hospital we are very soon installing a Gamma Camera. A  dedicated, small team of specialist trained Radiographers and Technologists will operate and run the scanner, and the teams will liaise with each other to provide an effective and efficient service for the patients.

 

Modalities - Plain Film

This is often people’s first interaction with the Radiology Department and most people are familiar with this service. The procedure is usually quite simple.

If you are having your chest x-rayed then you will usually stand or sit with your chest closely applied to an x-ray plate with your arms positioned around the flat plate. The plate is often cold but it should not be uncomfortable. If you are having a hand x-rayed the procedure is very similar: you place your hand flat on the x-ray plate. So, whatever part of the body is being x-rayed this is placed as close to the x-ray plate as possible. A radiographer will be performing the examination.

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