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New MRI Offers Greater Patient Comfort

A new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging machine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center promises greater patient comfort through its faster speed and wider “bore.”

BOSTON - A new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging machine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center promises greater patient comfort through its faster speed and wider "bore."

"This will set a new standard for patient comfort and care," said Neil Rofsky, MD, director of BIDMC's MRI program, explaining this is the first "ultra-short wide bore" machine employed by a Boston area teaching hospital.

Unlike the standard MRI, which has a bore (central opening) roughly 22 1/2 inches wide and six feet deep, the new MRI measures roughly 27 inches wide and is just four feet deep.

"The additional five inches may not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference for patients, especially our larger patients and those who experience claustrophobia" said MRI clinical manager Stephen Flaherty. Additionally, exams can be shorter due to the new scanner's cutting edge technology and hardware, he said.

Unique to this machine is a sky-light style image of palm trees which is also hoped to help soothe patient concerns prior to and during the exams.

In use since late May, staff has already noticed a marked improvement for many patients, said Rofsky. "Our nurse practitioner has reported some previous patients who required sedative medicines prior to the exam haven't needed any with this new machine."

MRI technology is particularly useful in helping doctors and technologists visualize the structure and function of the entire body, including skeletal, tissue, metabolic differences, oxygenation and even temperature, said Rofsky. "Imaging in general is a filter of all the services we offer in the medical center," he said.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks among the top four in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu.