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MDI Hospital has announced that it’s Radiology Department is the first in northern New England to be accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for nuclear medicine. The ACR is a 30,000-member organization that provides peer-review and evaluation of radiology facilities throughout the U.S.

“Our decision to apply for accreditation was voluntary,” explained Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist Dan Cutshall. Cutshall added that, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandates accreditation for facilities providing mammography, accreditation for nuclear medicine is still done on a voluntary basis. “Along with mammography, we’re also accredited in ultrasound, breast ultrasound, and breast biopsy,” said Cutshall.

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology in which images of body anatomy and function are recorded from energy emitted by a radioactive substance given to the patient either intravenously or orally. Because the amount of radiopharmaceutical is small, patients are exposed to less radiation than from most X-rays.

Nuclear medicine can be used to evaluate organ function, analyze blood flow, identify bleeding into the bowel, evaluate bones for fracture, arthritis or tumors, locate infection, and determine the spread of cancer.

MDI Hospital’s Nuclear Medicine accreditation is in three areas: Planar, which is for two-dimensional images; SPECT, or Single Photon Emission Computer Tomography, which is for three-dimensional images; and Cardiac Imaging, which records images of the heart to determine if the patient is at risk of heart attack.

The accreditation process includes a rigorous examination of the Hospital’s nuclear medicine images and imaging equipment, quality control measures, radiopharmaceutical procedures, and safety.

“The emphasis in this department is on safety and quality,” said John Benson, M.D., MDI Hospital’s Medical Director of Medical Imaging. “This accreditation provides verification that we are meeting national standards in these areas.”

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