Radiology/Imaging Services

Radiology Department

978-249-1160

Radiography is the oldest form of medical imaging, and it is still the most frequently used. Radiology produces an image of the shadows cast by your organs and tissues. Tissues that are denser, such as bones or blood vessels infused with contrast agents, are more clearly visible than other tissues.

Athol Hospital's Radiology Department offers state-of-the-art diagnostic technology minutes from home for patients in the North Quabbin region. Our diagnostic imaging services include film-less X-ray, Fluoroscopy, CT, Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine, MRI, Mammography and Bone Density.

Athol's Radiology Department is supported by eight board certified radiologists, providing quality diagnostic expertise and our exams are performed by licensed Technologists, nationally registered by the American Registration of Radiology Technologists.

Imaging Services

PACS (Picture Archive and Communications Systems)

Athol Hospital is proud to offer our patients PACS (Picture Archive and Communications Systems), which streamlines the patient consultation process and enhances your physicians diagnostic abilities. Our digital imaging services include CT, Ultrasound, MRI, Fluoroscopy, Nuclear Medicine, C-Arm Fluoroscopy, DXA Scanning and general x-rays.

General X-ray Examinations

Athol Hospital provides patients with quick access to a variety of general diagnostic imaging exams such as: x-rays for chest, extremities, spine and GI Series. With our new digital technology, you and your physician will notice improved image quality, decreased examination time, improved efficiency and enhanced patient care.

CT -Computed Tomography

CT (Computed Tomography) scanning—sometimes called CAT scanning—is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT scanning combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images of the area being studied can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or transferred to a CD. CT scans of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels provide greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. 

Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel to expose the body to high-frequency sound waves. Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound examinations do not use radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.Ultrasound imaging can be performed on various areas of the body including abdomen, breast, carotid artery, head, and female and male reproduction systems.

Athol Hospital's Ultrasound Department is accredited by the American College of Radiology and features technologists licensed by the American Society of Medical Sonographers.

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD. MRI does not use radiation (x-rays).

Athol Hospital is proud to offer a state-of-the-art MRI system – the Signa® Infinity with EXCITE™ – from GE Medical Systems, one of the world’s leading MRI manufacturers. The system is capable of acquiring diagnostic information significantly faster than other MRI systems, making it a breakthrough tool for the diagnosis of disease. The EXCITE scanner will enable doctors to improve diagnosis for a wide range of conditions, including cardiac and vascular disease; stroke; abdominal and brain disorders; and musculoskeletal conditions in the knee, shoulder and other joints.

Athol Hospital MRI services are available five days-a-week, with all images read by the hospital's Board Certified Radiologists, and is accredited by the American College of Radiology.

Digital Mammography

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dosex-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in both men and women.

Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient's point of view, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film mammogram.

Athol Hospital's Mammography Department is accredited by the American College of Radiology Mammography Program, licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and certified by the FDA under the Mammography Quality Standards Act. The Department performs both screening and diagnostic mammograms, with services provided Monday - Friday.

Nuclear Medicine 

Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of a variety of diseases, including many types of heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages.

A Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress Test involves the injection of a small about of Radioactive Material that is attracted to the Heart. A Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress Test is a two part exam. The first part involves a small needle being placed in the arm (the needle remains in the arm for the entire test).  A small about of radioactive material is injected and a series of pictures of the heart "at rest" are taken. The second part includes a Stress Test (generally walking on a Treadmill). Under the supervision and direction of a Cardiologist a Stress Test is started.  During the Stress Test your heart is monitored and at a specific time a Radioactive Material is injected.  A series of pictures are then taken while your heart is "stressed"). The Cardiologists then compares the Rest and Stress Scans to determine how the heart functions.  The Scan is performed by a Registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist and read by Heywood Healthcare's Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor. 

Full Nuclear Medicine Services are offered through Heywood Healthcare at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. Please call the Athol/ Heywood Central Scheduling Department at (978) 630-5070 to schedule any Nuclear Medicine Scans.

DXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry

More commonly known as Bone density testing, DXA, Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. DXA is today's established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD).

DXA is a very simple exam often used to evaluate the bones for early signs of osteoporosis, and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Once your physician obtains the results, he or she can recommend medications or an exercise program to address early changes in bone structures due to osteoporosis.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram, often referred to cardiac echo or simply an echo is an ultrasound of the heart. Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart, pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An Echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function. The use of Stress Echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.Not only can an echocardiogram create ultrasound images of heart structures, but it can also produce accurate assessment of the blood flowing through the heart. This allows assessment of both normal and abnormal blood flow through the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves and to estimate how well the valves open.Echocardiography is performed by Registered Cardiac Technologists and read by Athol Hospital Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor.

Stress Echocradiogram

A Stress Echocardiogram, also known as a stress echo, utilizes ultrasound imaging of the heart to assess the wall motion in response to physical stress. First, images of the heart are taken "at rest" to acquire a baseline of the patient's wall motion at a resting heart rate. The patient then walks on a treadmill or utilizes another exercise modality to increase the heart rate to their target heart rate. Finally, images of the heart are taken "at stress" to assess wall motion at the peak heart rate. A stress echo assesses wall motion of the heart and Ischemia (absence of blood to an area of the heart). A Stress Echocardiogram is also a noninvasive (doesn't involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities). The imaging of a Stress Echocardiogram is performed by a Registered Cardiac Technologists.  The Stress Test is performed and read by Athol Hospital's Cardiologists.The Results will be sent to your doctor.