Hospital Offers Improved Cardiac Ultrasound

August 5, 2011

Contrast Agent Enhances Images of the Heart

New London Family Medical Center has added a new tool to its diagnostic imaging capabilities, to help enhance the image of the heart. The hospital’s ultrasound department is now using Definity, a contrast agent that improves the image quality of echocardiograms – also know as cardiac ultrasound.

Definity doesn’t contain dye, but rather is made up of tiny microbubbles that are biodegradable. When it is injected into a patient’s arm during an ultrasound exam, it passes through the patient’s circulatory system. When the ultrasound probe is placed over the patient’s heart, it reflects ultrasound signals, creating a clearer image of the heart. As the bubbles dissipate, the agent is essentially breathed out of the body a few minutes after it is injected.

Definity isn’t used for all cardiac ultrasounds, but improves the image quality of the heart in some patients, said Michele Rollins, an echocardiographer in NLFMC’s ultrasound department. “Definity enhances the image for the cardiologist to read the echo and move forward with other specialty exams, if needed, and a diagnosis,” Rollins said.

Bill Schmidt, president and CEO of NLFMC, said the hospital adopted the use of the contrast agent in response to requests from primary care providers, and it represents another example of NLFMC’s continued efforts to enhance patient care and convenience. “Patients who need this contrast agent can stay right here in New London and no longer have to travel outside the area for the test,” he said.

New London Family Medical Center is a 25-bed, critical access hospital serving New London and nearby communities in Outagamie and Waupaca counties. The hospital, which has been in operation since 1930 and is part of ThedaCare, provides inpatient and outpatient surgery; a 24-hour emergency department; physical, occupational and speech therapies; diagnostic services including laboratory and imaging; pain management; transitional care; and a ThedaCare At Home retail store. ThedaCare Physicians-New London shares the campus of New London Family Medical Center, as does a medical office building opened in 2003. An expansion of the medical campus was completed in 2010.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

For more information, media may contact Megan Wilcox (megan.wilcox@thedacare.org), APR, corporate and public relations specialist for ThedaCare, at (920) 830-5847.