Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Tulsa Clinic Remodels Radiology, Expands Services
The Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic in Tulsa began conducting ultrasound scans on Aug. 3 as part of a patient-centered care initiative to increase access and convenience for Veterans.
The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVHCS) recently remodeled Radiology Service at the clinic to accommodate a new General Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging machine and Vascular Ultrasound machine.
Previously, Tulsa conducted diagnostic x-ray services and Veterans, who needed ultrasound scans, had to travel to the Muskogee hospital for those exams.
“This is patient-centered care,” said Dr. Vijay Aggarwal, Chief of EOVHCS Radiology/Nuclear Medicine Service. “A lot of our patients live in Tulsa or near Tulsa, so it will help those Veterans through convenience and reduce their travel. We’re very excited about it.”
The General Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging machine can be used to scan areas of the body such as the thyroid, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, scrotum, arms, legs and pelvic area.
“In the past, women needing pelvic ultrasound scans for pelvic pain, irregular periods, or post-menopausal bleeding, had to travel to Muskogee to have the exam done,” said Dr. Mark Vaccaro, Assistant Chief of Radiology/Nuclear Medicine Service. “Now, that can be done in Tulsa.”
The Vascular Ultrasound machine will be able to conduct ankle-brachial index tests, which are designed to determine blockages in arteries in the leg.
“The ankle-brachial index measures the pressure in the arms and in the ankles,” said Dr. Vaccaro. “If the pressures in the ankles are less than the arms, that means blood is not getting down to the ankles. There’s some blockage.”
In addition to new ultrasound services, the Tulsa Clinic also recently expanded its x-ray services and now offers fluoroscopy x-ray exams.
Fluoroscopy can assess a patient’s upper gastrointestinal tract, which primarily consist of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.
“Fluoroscopy is a technique where we record motion within the body,” said Dr. Vaccaro. “For example, you can see the heart beating and esophagus and stomach contracting. You can position the patient using this continuous x-ray so you get ideal images of the different parts of the body.”
The Radiology Service estimates they will conduct 10-12 ultrasound scans and two fluoroscopic exams per business day with the potential for future expansion.