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Tyrone Hospital upgrades heart diagnostic technology

Tyrone Hospital has upgraded its echocardiography technology to the Philips Sonos 5500.
Shirley Kooken, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Tyrone Hospital, said equipment is upgraded periodically to keep technology current.
Echocardiography is a commonly used diagnostic test for the heart.
The test itself involves the placement of a probe on the chest with a gel-like substance to transmit sound waves into the body. A moving image of the beating heart can then be projected onto a computer screen for evaluation. The average time to complete the test is 30 minutes. The test is performed by a sonographer and the information gathered is forwarded to a cardiologist to review.
Two cardiologists, V. Janakiraman, M.D. and Mukul Bhatnagar, M.D. practice at Tyrone Hospital. Their Tyrone practice is in addition to their practice at Altoona Regional Health System. Between them they have provided services in Tyrone for more than 23 years.
Dr. Janakiraman, said physicians use echocardiography to evaluate many conditions including the extent of damage following a heart attack, heart murmur, valve dysfunctions, size and thickness of the heart and chamber function, congenital defects, congestive heart problems, coronary artery disease, cardio myopathy, abnormal heart rhythm, heart infection as well as to monitor the way the heart is responding to treatment or a corrective procedure.
“The information provided helps us determine what course of treatment a patient may need and we can also use this test to monitor the effectiveness of treatment or a corrective procedure such as catheterization or surgery.”
The sonographers who complete the echocardiography tests are professionals who have completed a specialized education and training program in sonography. They are credentialed by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and complete numerous hours of continuing medical education to maintain their credentials.
Two sonographers provide services at Tyrone Hospital, Dana Shook, RCS and Brian Gillen, RCS. Shook and Gillen both provide services at larger hospitals in the region in addition to the services they provide in Tyrone. Between them they have nearly three decades of experience in sonography.
“Echocardiography gives us an image of the heart the same way ultrasound gives an image of a fetus inside a pregnant woman,” said Shook. “It is a window that lets us see the actual mechanics of the heart.”
Gillen said echocardiography is non-invasive and painless to the patient and does not involve any radiation. He said the test is performed with the patient lying on their left side.
“This position works with gravity to let the heart shift to the chest wall. This allows us to generate the images without bone obstructing the view.”
Images of the heart are then captured at three different angles.
“The echocardiography technology we use at Tyrone Hospital is comparable to what we use at other hospitals in the region,” said Gillen.
Shook and Gillen said Tyrone is fortunate to have two cardiologists. “We don’t often see small hospitals with that extent of cardiology coverage.”
In addition to echocardiography, Tyrone Hospital also provides electrocardiogram and holter monitoring for evaluation of heart function. Physicians also perform pacemaker insertion at Tyrone.
For more information about echocardiography or other heart diagnostics available at Tyrone Hospital, call the hospital’s cardiopulmonary services department at 684-6317.