The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust’s (NDHT) diagnostic imaging department is a relatively small but friendly department, currently employing 78 staff. It also covers radiology departments in the Trust’s community hospitals at Bideford and Ilfracombe and provides other imaging services in the community, such as ultrasound.
The diagnostic imaging department currently undertakes over 95,000 patient examinations per year, including general X-rays, Fluoroscopy and Interventional procedures, Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Ultrasound, Mammography and DEXA scans (Bone Densitometry).
If you would like to find out more about these types of examinations, please see the information below or look at the patient information section here.
The Trust has three general x-ray rooms (one of which also provides dental x-ray facilities) and one emergency department x-ray room. These x-ray rooms produce over 55,000 x-ray examinations per year.
The general x-ray department x-rays patients from the wards, outpatient clinics, physiotherapy department, fracture clinic, children’s clinic, GPs and the Emergency room, which is usually very busy with a wide range of major trauma and minor injuries.
Dental imaging is performed in the general X-ray department providing imaging for the emergency, orthodontic, maxillofacial and ENT departments.
How safe is your x-ray? (pdf)
Fluoroscopy and interventional
Fluoroscopy is a method of obtaining real-time moving images of internal structures in the body such as blood vessels, the stomach and bowels.
Our fluoroscopy and interventional room is fitted with a Siemens AXIOM Multixtop-Artis Zee which allows a wide variety of procedures to be undertaken; these include barium and contrast swallows and meals, contrast enemas, angiography, biliary, stenting and ERCP procedures, nephrostomy, cystography, temporary pacemaker insertions and hysterosalpingogram (HSG) examinations for infertility.
There are also weekly inter-professional fluoroscopy sessions with the anaesthetic pain team and speech and language therapy (SALT) departments.
DEXA stands for ‘Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry’ and is a type of scan used to check bone density with a view to reducing fracture risks. The DEXA service currently performs around 1300 examinations per year and mainly accepts referrals from GPs, Oncologists and fracture clinic.
A routine DEXA appointment lasts approximately 30 minutes which allows the radiographer to complete a fracture risk assessment questionnaire with the patient and provide appropriate bone health and lifestyle counselling.
CT stands for Computerised Tomography and uses X-rays to produce thin cross-sectional images (‘slices’) of the body. At present we have one CT scanner which is a 128 slice Siemens Somatom Definition AS, with dose reduction software (SAFIRE).
The department currently undertakes nearly 12,000 CT examinations per year, providing a wide variety of scans. Standard, routine and trauma CT scans are the mainstay, but the team also provides regular cardiac, orthopaedic and virtual colonography scans (images of the bowel) as well as scans for interventional procedures such as biopsies, with weekly specialist lists. The Trust has plans to invest in a second CT scanner.
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner also produces thin cross-sectional images of the body, but uses a combination of magnetic pulses and radio waves instead of x-rays.
Our MRI department has a 1.5 Tesla Siemens Avanto Scanner. The service currently undertakes nearly 6,500 examinations per year, working five days a week, although extended days and weekend lists are undertaken depending on the need of the service.
The MRI scanning department carries out a wide variety of general examinations, as well as some more specialist procedures such as musculoskeletal imaging with referrals taken from the emergency department and orthopaedics, neurology, oncology, urology, gynaecology, ENT, paediatrics, upper and lower GI.
The ultrasound department provides imaging using sound waves which reflect off body tissues (similar to the use of sonar used by ships and submarines) to help to diagnose disease.
There are four general ultrasound rooms located within the main Ultrasound Department and two obstetric rooms located in the maternity unit, using both Phillips and GE scanning equipment; providing on average 16,500 examinations per year. These consist of general abdominal, gynaecological, vascular, musculoskeletal and obstetric ultrasound examinations, but there also one-stop clinics for urology and DVT examinations. Ultrasound is also used for scanning babies’ hips to check for structural abnormalities as it does not involve the use of ionising radiation (x-rays).
Mammography (Breast Imaging)
Our breast imaging department provides imaging for surveillance and symptomatic breast clinics as well as family history referrals. The mammography department currently undertakes over 1,600 procedures per year, using a Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Unit. The department also undertakes a variety of interventional breast procedures using ultrasound.