Saturday, November 20, 1999

Special to the Star-Bulletin
A $3 million gift to North Hawaii Community Hospital has
made possible the acquisition of a magnetic resonance imaging
device that can peer inside the body and watch it heal.

Advanced MRI device obtained

By Rod Thompson


WAIMEA, Hawaii -- North Hawaii Community Hospital expects in 18 months to have a magnetic resonance imaging device so advanced it will allow doctors to watch tissue heal inside the human body, the hospital announced.

The acquisition was made possible by an anonymous $3 million gift.

Approval to obtain the machine was granted recently by the State Health Planning and Development Agency, which reviews proposed services at all state hospitals.

Installation of the machine has to wait until a new room is built for it in the hospital.

Such a machine, known as an MRI, is often used to diagnose patients. State health planners also ordered it to be used as a research tool.

Orthopedic surgeon Doug Hiller said, "In a research setting, we'll use the new MRI to look at the blood flow to a muscle, its capacity to store energy, and the rate at which the muscle consumes energy."

Hiller runs a Big Island training program for athletes which has sent Ironman competitors to the winner's circle and has improved performance for paddling crews and cross-country teams, a hospital statement said.

Among the features of the new machine:

Bullet A configuration that allows patients to enter feet first.

Bullet A wider tunnel size.

Bullet A more powerful magnet.

Bullet The ability to determine cell chemistry, useful for cancer diagnosis and sports medicine.

Bullet Takes up to 18 images per second, allowing clear views of a beating heart.

Bullet Allows analysis of the movement of substances through tissues.

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