There is an imaging exam for nearly every stage of life.

The demand for the services that The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) provides continues to grow every year. That includes radiology, which is why, when the new Critical Care Tower opens in 2024, it will include expanded X-ray, CT and MRI capabilities.

UNMH is the state’s leader in radiology and imaging services, performing nearly 400,000 procedures each year.

“We touch almost everybody in the hospital during their stay with us,” said Jane Potter, clinical director of Radiology. “There’s so much that we can do within Radiology. We are the eyes of the hospital, in many ways.

Because of radiology’s central role in a patient’s care, imaging equipment will be strategically located in the Critical Care Tower to support all other critical care services.

The main imaging suite on Level 1 will house a combination fluoro-general radiology room, one computed tomography (CT) scanner, two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines and two ultrasound machines.

In the adult Emergency Department one floor below, there will be two general X-ray rooms and two CT scanners. For trauma patients who need imaging even more quickly, portable X-ray machines will also be available.

New imaging equipment will also live in the interventional platform on Level 3. This includes four cardiac catheterization labs and six interventional radiology suites, where doctors perform minimally invasive, image-guided procedures.

Jumping to Floors 5 and 6, the new adult intensive care unit will also enjoy its share of imaging capabilities, including a C-arm (mobile fluoroscopy unit), a mobile CT unit and more portable X-ray machines.

Overall, the hospital expansion will dramatically increase the bandwidth of UNMH’s radiology services, doubling the total number of CT scanners (from five to 10) and adding two more MRI scanners to the four already in use.

“Having a larger footprint will make things better for patients across the board,” Potter said. “It will present challenges at first because it’s a big transition. But I believe that our community will embrace it. They know that we need this, too.”

The imaging spaces in the tower have been designed with staff in mind. Amenities like more break rooms will ensure that radiology staff can receive the self-care that they need throughout the day. This will inevitably lead to more successful patient exams and less medical errors.

The UNMH Department of Radiology uses the most technologically advanced equipment to care for patients across the full spectrum of life, from newborns to those in end-of-life care.