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What began as any other Sunday morning in the Medical Imaging Department at Mount Desert Island Hospital resulted in an educational opportunity for colleagues nationwide with the publication of a case study in a leading medical journal.

When MDI Hospital Ultrasonographer Jody Zeisloft performed an echocardiogram on a patient last fall, he instantly “knew something was out of place,” he recalls. The story of that unusual event is featured as the cover story in the current issue of the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

It is common for Zeisloft and his fellow sonographers at MDI Hospital to share information about cases as part of the ever-present learning environment.  “We say ‘let me show you what I saw in case you ever see this,’” Zeisloft said. Seeing the educational value in the case specifics, the group thought it would be of interest to a broader audience. Together with fellow sonographers Ray Pedrick and Jane Adelmann, and radiologist (medical imaging physician) John Benson, MD, Zeisloft recounted the specifics in exacting medical detail for the journal.

In addition to sharing the unusual event throughout the ultrasound community, journal publication entitles Zeisloft to complete the requirements for Advanced Practice Sonographer certification, a level of credentialing that is held by as few as 200 sonographers nationwide. When Zeisloft is awarded his APS, he will be the second to hold the certification at MDI Hospital. “To have one with APS certification is unusual.  To have two at a hospital this size is extremely rare,” said Jeff Murad, MDI Hospital’s director of medical imaging.

The team’s advanced certifications, Murad said, are due in part to the depth of experience of the sonographers.  Between the three, they have more than 56 years of ultrasound experience and all are registered in the full range of sonography options.

For the curious, what Zeisloft saw that day on the ultrasound was a wire from an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), a device similar to a pacemaker, coiled in the shape of a bowtie that was on the wrong side of the heart. When he confirmed the ends of the wire were in the correct place on the correct side of the heart, he concluded that a defect or hole in the heart between the two valves was possible. “I knew that didn’t happen every day,” Zeisloft said, and it was something he had never seen in his 15 years in the field.

To confirm the finding, a CT scan was performed, which offered a more detailed view of the heart and the wire’s location. Additional specialized imaging was later performed at Eastern Maine Medical Center to confirm the cardiac defect was contributing to the patient’s symptoms.

Zeisloft is currently working on journal articles on other topics including musculoskeletal ultrasound, a leading-edge procedure in which, under Dr. Benson’s guidance, MDI Hospital sonographers are well versed.

MDI Hospital offers a full range of imaging services including digital mammography, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear imaging with radiologists on-site to provide prompt results in a convenient, comfortable setting.  For more information, visit mdihospital.org.

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