What to look for in a Diagnostic Imaging Centre

We understand that you have choices when it comes to deciding where to go for your scan.  What should you consider when you are looking for an imaging centre?

Experience

Canada Diagnostic Centres opened the first private MRI in Canada in 1993.  Our Vancouver clinic has been open since 2000 and since that time we have scanned over 35,000 patients.  Our facility and our radiologists are well known in the medical community.

Medical Team

Radiologists are the specialists who interpret, MRIs, CTs and ultrasounds and provide your doctor with the results. 

Our clinic’s five radiologists are led by Dr. Bruce Forster, a Professor of Diagnostic Radiology, Faculty of Medicine at UBC and a practicing radiologist at UBC and VGH.  Dr. Forster is also head of the MRI fellowship program at UBC Hospital and Regional Head of MRI for Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

 Our radiologists also bring a variety of sub-specialty skills to the clinic relating to musculoskeletal, neurologic and abdominal diagnostic imaging.  They use a team approach and are able to consult freely with each other in the event of challenging or difficult cases.  This depth and breadth of knowledge is a real benefit to our patients and their physicians.

Our entire team of radiologists actively participates in teaching of radiologists-in-training in the UBC Faculty of Medicine and is engaged in cutting edge imaging research.

The Right Exam for the Right Reasons

There are many considerations as to which exam is most appropriate for each individual case, and even how to structure each exam.  For that reason, our radiologists review and protocol all exam requests before we call you to book a scan.  If a different exam than the one ordered by your doctor would be more appropriate for you, our radiologists will let you and your physician know.  That way, we maximize the likelihood that we will get the answers you need and minimize the likelihood that you will need an additional, different kind of exam down the road

Equipment

Just like cars, advanced medical imaging equipment comes in different makes and models.  With MRI for example, there are many different configurations as to the size, shape and strength of machine. 

The strength of the magnets in an MR machine is measured in Tesla.  The most common strength machine is a 1.5Tesla and it is what you will find in hospitals and medical teaching facilities throughout Canada.  At our clinic, we operate a GE Signa 1.5T HDx(High Definition) MRI. 

CT scanners are described by the number of “slices” they have.  These are the number of simultaneous images the machine takes during one split-second rotation around the patient.  Our CT scanner is a 64-slice Aquilion 64-slice by Toshiba Medical.  64-slice scanners have made  high resolution visualization of the heart and coronary arteries possible.

Information

When you call an imaging clinic, is the staff helpful and informative?  Are they able to answer all of your questions?  Are you comfortable with what they are telling you?  If you need more information, are they able to provide it for you?  At Canada Diagnostic Centres, our staff is happy to answer all of your questions or provide you with information or materials you may find helpful.  If you prefer online research, our website is an excellent source of information.

 

 

Wait times

Do you need your scan done as soon as possible or would you like it next Tuesday afternoon to better fit your schedule?   At Canada Diagnostic Centres, we will do our absolute best to schedule your scan for a time and date that fits with your needs.  We will also be happy to coordinate the timing of your scan with specialist appointments or treatment you have scheduled. 

In addition, your scan will be reviewed and reported quickly.  You doctor will receive a report within one working day of the exam—in many cases, your doctor will receive the report within a few hours of your scan.  If your doctor requires results immediately, our radiologist will be happy to call and give a verbal report right away.

 

Cost

Prices for different scans vary depending on the complexity of the scan being done and the type of machine it is being done on.  A complete fee schedule is available on our website.  If you have any questions about what an exam would cost, please give us a call.

Our promise is to provide our patients and their physicians with the best in patient-focused, medically-principled diagnostic imaging.

  Filed under: Categories: CT Scans, MRI Scans, and Ultrasound Scans.
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MRI and Ultrasound for CCSVI

April 7, 2010 – The MS world may be witnessing an historic breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of the disease with the connection that is now being made with venous problems and is being called Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI).  Every week, new information is coming out about:

  • what constitutes CCSVI
  • how CCSVI relates to MS
  • how to diagnose CCSVI
  • what to do about CCSVI.

 

The one thing that has become very clear is that it takes specialized equipment and specialized training for technologists and radiologists to accurately diagnose and evaluate CCSVI.  As of now, MRI and Ultrasound scanning techniques have not been standardized, so what is found on one scan, may not be found on another.  One of the first orders of business is to standardize diagnostic imaging techniques.

At Canada Diagnostic, we are following the developments very closely.  At this time, we are choosing not to provide any diagnostic tests for CCSVI.

The main reason that we are not providing this service is that we don’t feel we would be serving the patient population by charging them money to provide them with information that may or may not turn out to be accurate, given the state of flux that CCSVI imaging is in.

Additionally, we do not want to charge a fee for a test, results of which cannot be acted upon.  There is currently no place in Canada that is providing either balloon or stent venoplasty for MS.

While it is true that some people with MS are getting scans in Canada and then going overseas for treatment based on their scan results, the vast majority are staying home for the time being.  Whether one chooses to go overseas now, or wait for treatment to be available at home, you will be given another test (possibly another MRI or ultrasound and then Venography—the gold standard).  We can’t, in good conscience, charge you for a test that you will have to have done all over again.

In the meantime, we have chosen to support the comprehensive and exciting research that UBC is doing in this area.  We are confident that the research that they and others  throughout  the Canadian Network of MS Clinics are doing will yield really exciting news very soon.

  Filed under: Categories: MRI Scans, Multiple Sclerosis, and Ultrasound Scans.
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Virtual Colonoscopy finds cancers outside the colon

March 23, 2010 – A study of more than 10,000 asymptomatic screening subjects found that more than one in 200 had unsuspected and typically large but mostly early-stage cancers detected outside the colon at Virtual Colonoscopy.  As with asymptomatic colorectal cancers identified by Virtual Colonoscopy screening, these cancers outside of the colon are often detected at an early, curable stage.

Colorectal and Extracolonic Cancers Detected at Screening CT Colonography in 10,286 Asymptomatic Adults

Radiology April 2010 255:83-88; doi:10.1148/radiol.09090939

 

Give us a call to find out more about Virtual Colonoscopy at Canada Diagnostic Centres:  1-877-709-8522 or 604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Colon Cancer and CT Scans.
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Carotid ultrasound may help predict cardiac events

April 8, 2010 – Performing ultrasound studies of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) provides long-term prognostic value for adverse cardiac events, giving doctors important clues about who is at risk for a heart attack.

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston examined the carotid arteries of 13,145 patients and found that about 23% of patients would be reclassified into a different risk group by adding information obtained from ultrasound assessment of CIMT to traditional risk factors used for predicting future cardiac events. Risk prediction using this approach was more accurate, and it could help better define which patients should be screened with CIMT ultrasound.

“Noninvasive ultrasound can give us a more complete snapshot of our patients’ risk, so we can do a better job determining if they’ll have a heart attack,” added study co-author Dr. Christie Ballantyne.

 

Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Presence or Absence of Plaque Improves Prediction of Coronary Heart Disease Risk

The ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) Study

J Am Coll Cardiol, 2010; 55:1600-1607, doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2009.11.075

Give us a call to find out more about CIMT testing at Canada Diagnostic:  1-877-709-8522 or 604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular and Ultrasound Scans.
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Coronary Artery Calcium & Risk Classification/prediction

April 28, 2010 – The results for the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Over 6,800 patients were screened – half using traditional risk factors such as age, gender, smoking history, blood pressure, cholesterol and ethnicity.  The other half were screened for traditional risk factors, plus received a Coronary Artery Calcium scoring test.

The study concluded that adding CACS to a prediction model “significantly improved” the classification of risk.

Coronary Artery Calcium Score and Risk Classificaiton for Coronary Heart Disease Prediction

Journal of the American Medical Association   Vol 303 No. 16, April 28, 2010

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular and CT Scans.
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CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE UPDATE

Did you know?  Risk factors such as high cholesterol, overweight etc do not tell you whether you have any biological evidence of early atherosclerosis.  Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring (CACS) and Carotid Intima-media thickness (CIMT) are two screening tests that can accurately measure actual changes within your body that indicate early atherosclerosis.

Give us a call to find out more about CACS and CIMT testing at Canada Diagnostic:  1-877-709-8522 or 604-709-8522

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular, CT Scans, and Ultrasound Scans.
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