PET Plays Critical Role in Supporting Parkinson's Disease Research

Reston, Va.—A large-scale study conducted to measure the effectiveness of dopamine cell transplantation in Parkinson’s disease patients shows significant improvements in motor skills and brain function, according to research reported in the January issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM). The results of this study demonstrate that transplanted cells were viable and integrated well with the host brain tissue. Furthermore, these cells produced dopamine that helped support the brain and led to an improvement in motor symptoms. These improvements were sustained over a four-year study period.

“This study provided new insights into the time course of transplantation outcome,” said David Eidelberg, M.D., study co-author and director of the Neuroscience Center at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y. “Comprehensive long-term clinical follow-up, together with molecular imaging, allows for a more realistic appraisal of this kind of intervention for Parkinson’s disease.”

Researchers reported long-term clinical and imaging outcomes after transplantation from 33 patients who originally participated in a one-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of embryonic dopaminergic cell implantation for Parkinson’s disease. Clinical improvement in motor ratings, as well as increased brain uptake of 18F-fluorodopa (18F-FDOPA)—the radiotracer that is widely used to investigate the function of dopamine grafts—was evident at one, two and four years after the transplantation surgery.

source: SNM


Physiologic Factors Linked to Image Quality of Multi-Detector Computed Tomography Scans

A large multicenter international trial found that the image quality of multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans, used for the noninvasive detection of coronary artery disease, can be significantly affected by patient characteristics such as ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), and heart rate, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

The large multicenter international trial study included 291 patients with coronary artery calcification and found that compared with examinations of white patients, studies of black patients had significantly poorer image quality.

“Physiologic factors such as high heart rate, arrhythmia, obesity, and high coronary calcium burden with motion continue to limit the diagnostic accuracy of MDCT as compared with conventional invasive coronary angiography. Our study is significant because we found a relevant influence of BMI, heart rate, ethnicity, and breathing artifact on the degradation of image quality,” said Melvin E. Clouse, MD, lead author of the study.

MDCT scans have been implemented in a variety of patients with suspected coronary artery disease because of its diagnostic accuracy and reliability. However “the diagnostic ability of any imaging method is directly dependent on image quality,” said Clouse.

“With this new knowledge combined with new and advanced CT scanners, we have the potential to improve image quality of coronary CT angiography, further making the test even more accurate and independent of patient characteristics,” he said.

source: ARRS


Cat Scan Radiation Exposure and Cancer Risks

Several recent articles in he Archives of Internal Medicine outline the rapidly growing concerns about cancer risk and radiation exposure from CT scans. Each day there are over 19,500 Cat Scans performed in the U.S. With each scan the patient is exposed to the equivalent of 30 - 443 chest x-rays.

Smith-Bindman and colleagues3 collected actual data on radiation dosages for the most commonly used CT scans at 4 institutions in the San Francisco Bay area in California in 2008. They found a surprising variation in radiation dose—a mean 13-fold variation between the highest and lowest dose for each CT type studied (range, 6- to 22-fold difference across study types). The investigators found a median effective dose of 22 mSv from a typical Cat Scan coronary angiogram and 31 mSv for a multiphase abdomen-pelvis CT scan. At one institution, exposure was a staggering 90 mSv for a multiphase abdomen-pelvis CT scan.

Even the median doses are 4 times higher than they are supposed to be, according to the currently quoted radiation dose for these tests. Just 1 CT coronary angiogram, on average, delivers the equivalent of 309 chest radiographs. From their data, Smith-Bindman et al3 estimated the risk of cancer, taking into consideration age, sex, and study type. By their calculations, 1 in every 270 forty-year-old women undergoing a CT coronary angiogram will develop cancer from the procedure.

In a second study, Berrington de González and colleagues2 determined CT scan use frequency using data from a large commercial insurance database, Medicare claims data, and IMV Medical Information Division survey data. They estimated there were 72 million CT scans performed in 2007. Excluding scans conducted after a diagnosis of cancer and those performed in the last 5 years of life, Berrington de González et al2 projected 29 000 excess cancers as a result of the Cat Scans scans done in 2007. These cancers will appear in the next 20 to 30 years and by the authors' estimates, at a 50% mortality rate, will cause approximately 15 000 deaths annually.

In other words, 15 000 persons may die as a direct result of CT scans physicians had ordered in 2007 alone. Presumably, as the number of Cat Scans scans increase from the 2007 rate, the number of excess cancers also will increase. In light of these data, physicians (and their patients) cannot be complacent about the hazards of radiation or we risk creating a public health time bomb.


New MRI Safety Risk For Patients With Pacemakers Identified By FDA Researchers

FDA researchers have found that certain cardiac pacemakers may inadequately stimulate a patient's heart while undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan due to the magnetic pulses mixing with the electronic pulses from the pacemaker. This inadequate stimulation is potentially dangerous for the patient undergoing the MRI scan, according to research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BioMedical Engineering Online.

MRI is an imaging technique that uses a magnetic field instead of ionizing radiation to produce a detailed image of internal body structures. MRI systems expose patients to very strong magnetic fields that can interfere with implanted cardiac pacemakers. Physicians are instructed by pacemaker manufacturers and MRI system manufacturers not to expose patients with pacemakers to MRI scans. MRI can damage the pacemaker's electronic system and cause burning of heart tissue at the tip of the pacemaker lead, due to an increase in temperature from the MRI. Both risks can result in incorrect or absent stimulation from the pacemaker.

source: Medical News Today


Studies quantify radiation doses, cancer risks from CT scans

Doses of radiation from commonly performed computed tomography (CT) scans vary widely, appear higher than generally believed and may contribute to an estimated tens of thousands of future cancer cases, according to two reports in the December 14/28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

CT scans have become increasingly common in the United States—about 70 million were performed in 2007, up from 3 million in 1980, according to background information in one of the articles. "While CT scans can provide great medical benefits, there is concern about potential future cancer risks because they involve much higher radiation doses than conventional diagnostic X-rays," the authors of one report write. For example, a chest CT scan exposes the patient to more than 100 times the radiation dose of a routine chest X-ray. "The risks to individuals are likely to be small, but because of the large number of persons exposed annually, even small risks could translate into a considerable number of future cancers."

It is important to understand how much radiation medical imaging delivers to help balance benefits and risks, the authors note. In one paper, Rebecca Smith-Bindman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues studied 1,119 patients undergoing the 11 most common types of diagnostic CT scans at four area institutions in 2008. Using hospital records, they calculated the radiation dosage involved with each scan and then estimated lifetime risks of cancer that could be attributed to those scans.

Radiation dosage varied widely between different types of CT studies; median (midpoint) doses ranged from 2 millisieverts for a routine head CT scan to 31 millisieverts for a multiphase abdomen and pelvis scan. "Within each type of CT study, effective dose varied significantly within and across institutions, with a mean [average] 13-fold variation between the highest and lowest dose for each study type," the authors write.

The estimated number of CT scans that would lead to the development of one cancer case also varied by type of CT scan and also by each patient's age and sex.

source: Eurekalert

Variable Doses of Radiation Raise Safety Concerns for CT Procedures

Radiation doses from common CT procedures vary widely and are higher than generally thought, raising concerns about increased risk for cancer, according to a new study led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) imaging specialists.

San Francisco, CA (Vocus/PRWEB ) December 14, 2009 -- Radiation doses from common CT procedures vary widely and are higher than generally thought, raising concerns about increased risk for cancer, according to a new study led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) imaging specialists.

In day-to-day clinical practice, we found significant variation in the radiation doses for the same type of computed tomography procedures within institutions and across institutions," said lead investigator Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, a professor of radiology at UCSF. Our results highlight the need for greater standardization because this is a medical safety issue."

Computed tomography imaging, known as CT, is a diagnostic procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to obtain cross-sectional pictures of the body that provide detailed images of organs, bones, and other tissues. CT is associated with higher radiation exposure than conventional x-rays, yet radiation dosages that patients receive from the newer CT scanners have gone largely unregulated, according to Smith-Bindman, who also is a UCSF professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Our study provides some initial data documenting the doses that patients receive when they undergo actual CT examinations and this is different than the doses when phantoms-- sophisticated plastic models typically used to quantify CT scanner dose-- are used. We believe documenting the actual doses that patients are exposed to is the first step to reducing those doses and any attendant risk," she emphasized.

complete article: PR Web


Repligen Reports Phase 3 Clinical Trial Results of RG1068 in Pancreatic Imaging

WALTHAM, MA - December 9, 2009 - Repligen Corporation (NASDAQ: RGEN) reported today top-line results from a Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RG1068, synthetic human secretin, to improve magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas in patients with a history of pancreatitis. The study's co-primary endpoints were improvements in sensitivity of detection of structural abnormalities of the pancreatic ducts using RG1068 in combination with MRI compared to MRI alone with minimal loss in specificity (<7.5%). The study design used endoscopy as the standard for determination of structural abnormalities. The predetermined criteria for a successful study were achievement of a statistically significant improvement in sensitivity with minimal loss in specificity from two of the three central radiologists reading the MRI images. In this study, one radiologist achieved a statistically significant improvement in sensitivity with RG1068 (p<0.001) while a second radiologist showed a trend but did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.088). There was minimal loss in specificity for all radiologists. While it was not a pre-specified endpoint, pooled data from all three radiologists resulted in a statistically significant improvement in sensitivity with RG1068 (p=0.005) with minimal loss in specificity.

source: Repligen


MRI Detects Breast Cancer at Earlier Stage

SAN ANTONIO - Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) coupled with mammography detects almost all cancers at an early stage, thereby reducing the incidence of advanced stage breast cancer in high-risk women.

"Earlier stage breast cancers are more likely to be curable," said lead researcher Ellen Warner, M.D., M.Sc., medical oncologist in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, in Toronto, Canada.

"We can be fairly confident that if screening with MRI finds cancers at a much earlier stage, it probably also saves lives," added Warner, who presented details of these results at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 9-13.

The researchers separated 1,275 women at high risk for breast cancer into two groups: One group was screened with MRI plus mammography, and the second, a control group, received conventional screening by mammography. Participants had the defective BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, which suggests a very high lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.

Warner and colleagues followed the women over several years to determine which screening method detected cancer at a significantly earlier stage.

source: AACR


CT Brain Perfusion Scans Safety Investigation: Initial Notification

[UPDATED 12/07/2009] The FDA, working with state and local health authorities, has identified at least 50 additional patients who were exposed to excess radiation of up to eight times the expected level during their CT perfusion scans. These cases so far involve more than one manufacturer of CT scanners. Some of these patients reported hair loss or skin redness following their scans. High doses of radiation can cause cataracts and increase the risk of some forms of cancer.

On the basis of its investigation to date, the FDA is providing interim recommendations for imaging facilities, radiologists, and radiologic technologists to help prevent additional cases of excess exposure.

These recommendations include:

* Facilities assess whether patients who underwent CT perfusion scans received excess radiation.
* Facilities review their radiation dosing protocols for all CT perfusion studies to ensure that the correct dosing is planned for each study.
* Facilities implement quality control procedures to ensure that dosing protocols are followed every time and the planned amount of radiation is administered.
* Radiologic technologists check the CT scanner display panel before performing a study to make sure the amount of radiation to be delivered is at the appropriate level for the individual patient.
* If more than one study is performed on a patient during one imaging session, practitioners should adjust the dose of radiation so it is appropriate for each study.

source: FDA


CT Imaging Taken Post Avastin May Predict Survival in Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

ScienceDaily (Dec. 2, 2009) — Using routine computed tomography (CT) imaging to analyze form and structural changes to colorectal liver metastasis after bevacizumab and chemotherapy may predict overall survival, according to research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings are published in the Dec. 2 issue of JAMA.

When combined with chemotherapy, the angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab, also known as Avastin, is associated with both improved survival in those with metastatic colorectal cancer and higher rates of pathologic response in patients undergoing surgical resection of colorectal liver metastases. The monoclonal antibody was approved for use in the front line setting of metastatic colorectal cancer in 2004.

However, the therapy presents a unique set of challenges, explains Jean-Nicolas Vauthey, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Surgical Oncology.

source: Science Daily Release


Smart Phones Allow Quick Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis

CHICAGO — Radiologists can accurately diagnose acute appendicitis from a remote location with the use of a handheld device or mobile phone equipped with special software, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"The goal is to improve the speed and accuracy of medical diagnoses, as well as to improve communications among different consulting physicians," said the study's lead author, Asim F. Choudhri, M.D., fellow physician in the Division of Neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "When we can make these determinations earlier, the appropriate surgical teams and equipment can be assembled before the surgeon even has the chance to examine the patient."

Appendicitis, or inflammation and infection of the appendix, is a medical emergency requiring surgical removal of the organ. Undiagnosed or left untreated, the inflamed appendix will rupture, causing toxins to spill into the abdominal cavity and potentially causing a life-threatening infection. Appendicitis can occur at any age but is most common in people between the ages of 10 and 30, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Typically, a patient arriving at the emergency room with suspected appendicitis will undergo computed tomography (CT) and a physical examination. If a radiologist is not immediately available to interpret the CT images or if consultation with a specialist is needed, diagnosis is delayed, increasing the risk of rupture. Transmitting the images over a mobile device allows for instant consultation and diagnosis from a remote location. It can also aid in surgical planning.

"This new technology can expedite diagnosis and, therefore, treatment," Dr. Choudhri said.

For the study performed at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, CT examinations of the abdomen and pelvis of 25 patients with pain in the right lower abdomen were reviewed over an encrypted wireless network by five radiologists using an iPhone G3 equipped with OsiriX Mobile medical image viewing software. All of the patients had surgical confirmation or follow-up evaluations to confirm whether or not they had appendicitis.

source: RSNA News Release


RevMed Successfully Introduces MRI Product Suite at Radiology Society of North America Conference

CHARLESTON, SC--(Marketwire - December 3, 2009) - Revolutions Medical Corporation ("RevMed" or the "Company") (OTCBB: RMCP), producers of the RevVac safety syringe, RevColor, RevDisplay and Rev3D MRI Technology, today announced that it introduced its proprietary suite of MRI software products at this week's Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting with great success. Radiologists and universities world-wide received presentations at the RMCP booth. A number of these contacts could play an important role in the Company's ongoing efforts to clinically validate specific applications of its MRI tools prior to the 2010 commercial launch.

"I could not be more pleased about the overwhelming interest that our MRI tools generated at this first introduction of our technology, and moreover at the premier imaging conference in the world," stated RevMed CEO Ron Wheet. "Introducing our proprietary MRI product offering at this conference was a dramatic step forward to commercialization in 2010. Radiologists immediately understood the utility of our products. Universities, OEM and VAR providers requested follow-up discussions regarding clinical collaboration. They also want to explore delivery options, i.e. embedding our product content into their existing commercially available products. Timely hot topics at the show included MRI analysis in breast disease, and brain abnormalities such as the depth of injury in concussion (as reported by the NFL); these led to discussions as to how our unique MRI color software would aid in image analysis, thereby enhancing diagnostic confidence in an entirely different way."

source: MarketWire


Unindicated CT Series Result in Unnecessary Radiation Exposure for Patients

CHICAGO, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A large proportion of patients who undergo abdominal/pelvic computed tomography (CT) receive unindicated and unnecessary additional image acquisition resulting in excess, avoidable radiation exposure, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"It is the responsibility of all physicians who work with ionizing radiation to ensure that the dosage is as low as reasonably achievable without compromising the patient's well being," said Kristie Guite, M.D., radiology resident at the University of Wisconsin (UW) in Madison. "Our study found that this principle is not being followed in many practices."

A CT examination consists of imaging the patient using a CT scanner and sometimes involves the injection of an intravenous contrast agent. Imaging can be performed at multiple time points before and/or after the injection of the contrast material. Each image acquisition is referred to as a "series." Although having multiple series can be helpful for some conditions, they are not generally necessary.

Because it provides valuable diagnostic information, CT use has risen rapidly. In recent years, a number of reports have highlighted the increasing radiation exposure to patients through the use of medical imaging, particularly CT. While these reports have often focused on general and screening uses, little attention has been paid to radiation from additional series, including routine non-contrast or delayed-phase CT, which may or may not be indicated by the patient's condition but are sometimes performed so that nothing is overlooked.

To determine the frequency of unindicated additional scanning and the resultant excess radiation exposure to patients, the researchers reviewed the appropriateness and radiation dose of abdomen and pelvis CT exams for 500 patients performed at outside institutions and submitted to UW - Madison for interpretation. The patients ranged in age from nine months to 91 years, with most between 30 and 50 years old.
complete article


Toshiba Showcases Patient-Friendly 3T MR System

CHICAGO - (Business Wire) Understanding that claustrophobia and acoustic noise are the top patient complaints with 3T MR imaging today, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc., has developed a comfortable and efficient 3T MR, the Vantage Titan™ 3T open bore MR. Toshiba’s Vantage Titan 3T is pending 510k clearance and will be showcased at this year’s Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting, held in Chicago, Nov. 29 – Dec. 4 (Booth #5629, South Hall).

The Vantage Titan 3T MR combines Toshiba’s commitment to patients and customers with the power of additional diagnostic capabilities, making it a comfortable and efficient 3T MR system. Its patient-centered technology improves the exam experience, resulting in better patient compliance and more streamlined exams to improve the delivery of care.

Benefits of the Vantage Titan 3T open bore MR include Increased Patient Comfort

Toshiba’s patient-friendly features make the Vantage Titan 3T MR comfortable. The system includes Toshiba’s exclusive Pianissimo™ noise-reduction technology, which reduces exam noise by up to 90 percent, making the Vantage Titan 3T the quietest available. Additionally, the Vantage Titan 3T boasts a 71 cm opening, giving patients more room and reducing claustrophobia, another concern facing the 3T MR market.

The system also incorporates the ability to perform contrast-free MRA exams, including Fresh Blood Imaging (FBI) for evaluating peripheral vascular diseases of the lower legs and extremities; Contrast-free Improved Angiography (CIA) for easier visualization of smaller vessels; Time-Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse (Time-SLIP) for evaluating hemodynamic, functional assessments and visualization of vascular structures; and Time and Space Angiography (TSA) to create non-contrast time-resolved imaging with high temporal resolution. Toshiba is the only imaging vendor to offer advanced contrast-free MRA techniques.

source: Toshiba


GE Healthcare Introduces Novel Device To Detect Tissue Stiffness

WAUKESHA, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE Healthcare today introduced MR-Touch, a visual palpation technology that uses low frequency sound waves in combination with MRI to measure tissue elasticity. For centuries, clinicians have evaluated tissue stiffness—the physical property of tissue most affected by disease—through palpation. Based on technology invented at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and licensed to GE Healthcare, MR Touch extends the principles of palpation with a precise, non-invasive, cost-effective way to evaluate tissue stiffness.

Recently FDA cleared, MR-Touch is a certified healthymagination product and has been third-party validated to reduce costs and increase the quality of healthcare. GE Healthcare will also feature MR-Touch at the annual meeting of the Radiologic Society of North America (RSNA), booth #4029, at Chicago’s McCormick Place from November 29-December 4, 2009.

“GE is proud to be the first to offer technology that has the potential to fundamentally improve the way disease is detected, monitored and understood,” said Jim Davis, General Manager of Global MR, GE Healthcare. “MR-Touch is a clear reflection of our healthymagination vision and underscores the importance of breakthrough innovation to delivering the highest level of patient care.”

source: Business Wire


Medical Imaging Technique Identifies Very Common Condition in Women That Often Goes Undiagnosed

In women with lower urinary tract symptoms, a medical imaging technique called dynamic MRI allows clinicians to diagnose pelvic organ prolapse — a condition that often goes undiagnosed on static MRI and at physical examination, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Pelvic organ prolapse is relatively common and occurs when the pelvic floor muscles become weak or damaged and can no longer support the pelvic organs. If left untreated, living with prolapse can be a challenge, both physically and emotionally, as the symptoms can disrupt day-to-day life. Dynamic MRI is performed while the patient performs a straining maneuver, such as bearing down. Static MRI is performed while the patient is at rest.

The study, performed at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, included 84 women with lower urinary tract symptoms who underwent dynamic and static MRI scans for a suspected urethra abnormality. Ten of the 84 patients were found to have an abnormality of the urethra. “However 33 patients were diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, of whom 29 were diagnosed exclusively on dynamic imaging,” said Genevieve L. Bennett, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center and lead author of the study.

“Dynamic imaging allows for the detection of pelvic organ prolapse, which may not be evident at rest but only detected when the woman strains,” said Bennett.

source: ARRS


Simple Blood Test Could Reduce Repeat Breast MRI Scans in Premenopausal Women With Irregular Periods

A simple blood test corresponding to the follicular phase (days 3-14) of a normal menstrual cycle can aid in optimal scheduling of breast MRI exams in premenopausal women with irregular cycles — possibly reducing the number of repeat scans and non-diagnostic tests patients experience and providing clearer images on which doctors make their recommendations, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Research has shown that performing breast MRI scans during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle minimizes breast tissue enhancement. “In practice, many clinicians scan premenopausal women who lack normal menstrual cycles without regard to the timing of their hormonal cycle,” said Richard L. Ellis, M.D., lead author of the study. “This can result in non-diagnostic exams and repeat scans,” he said.

Using what is already known about the menstrual cycle and its effects upon normal breast tissue, Ellis, a radiologist at the Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care in Lacrosse, Wis., reasoned that a simple blood test could be used to optimize the timing of breast MRI exams. Blood tests were used to time exams in 11 women with irregular cycles. “None of the breast MRI scans performed in our small group of women resulted in high background enhancement of normal breast tissue requiring a repeat scan,” said Ellis.

“Appropriate timing of a breast MRI examination for premenopausal women who do not have a normal menstrual cycle is a challenge. However, using existing science, we found that a simple blood test to determine a woman’s serum progesterone concentration can aid in optimal timing of breast MRI. This is significant in an ever-increasing population of women requiring or eligible for breast MRI,” said Ellis.

source: ARRS


In A Flash: New Flash CT Reduces Radiation Dose By Up To 90%

NYU Langone Medical Center is the first hospital in the Northeast to offer one of the world's fastest and most radiation dose efficient computed tomography (CT) scanner. The Siemens SOMATOM Definition Flash can image ten times as fast as other clinical units, with an up to 90% dose reduction in radiation compared to conventional imaging. The scanner's dual source technology allows NYU Langone Medical Center to provide new levels of patient care, especially for trauma, pediatric, cancer and cardiac patients.

"The new CT scanner allows us to produce high quality diagnostic images in the least amount of time and with the least amount of radiation," said Michael Recht, MD, the Louis Marx Professor of Radiology and chair of the Department of Radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "NYU Langone Medical Center already offers advanced low-dose technology, but now with Flash CT, we are thrilled to be able to offer our patients some of the most advanced technology in the world, combined with the unmatched expertise of our radiologists."

source: Medical News Today


Siemens SOMATOM Definition Flash CT Wins Best New Radiology Device Award

Malvern, Pa., Nov. 13, 2009 – Siemens Heathcare’s SOMATOM Definition Flash CT scanner has recently been honored by AuntMinnie.com with the 2009 “Best New Radiology Device” Minnie Award. Now in its 10th year, the Minnies is an annual event recognizing excellence in radiology and hosted by AuntMinnie.com. Minnies candidates were nominated by AuntMinnie.com members in September. Semifinalists and finalists are then selected through a vote by AuntMinnie’s expert panel of radiology professionals.

With the SOMATOM Definition Flash, Siemens Healthcare introduced a CT scanner that will set new standards regarding speed and dose reduction. This system requires only a fraction of the radiation dose that systems previously required to scan even the tiniest anatomical details faster than ever before. The SOMATOM Definition Flash is a dual-source CT from Siemens, featuring two X-ray tubes that simultaneously revolve around the patient’s body. The fastest scanning speed in CT (i.e., 43 cm/s) and a temporal resolution of 75 ms, enable, for example, complete scans of the entire chest region in just 0.6 seconds. Thus, patients are no longer required to hold their breath during the exam the way they had in the past. It also eliminates the need for sedation in pediatric imaging.

At the same time, the scanner operates at an extremely reduced radiation dose. For example, a spiral heart scan can be performed with less than 1 millisievert (mSv), whereas the average effective dose required for this purpose usually ranges from 8 mSv to 40 mSv.

source: Siemens Healthcare


Cedars-Sinai finds more patients exposed to excess radiation

Nicole Santa Cruz

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center officials said Monday that 260 patients had been exposed to high doses of radiation during CT brain scans during an 18-month period, up from the hospital's original estimate of 206 in September.

A review by the hospital also found that about 20% of the patients received exposure directly to the lenses of their eyes, which puts them at a higher risk for cataracts, said Simi Singer, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles hospital.

Of the newly identified cases, 47 patients had died by the time the hospital began contacting victims -- a reflection, officials said, of their serious illnesses, not the radiation exposure. Seven more patients were identified as a result of the ongoing investigation.

Hospital officials said the lens exposure problem was discovered after a review of patients' scans.

source: LA Times


Covidien Submits Label Change for Optimark(TM) Contrast Agent

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 9, 2009-- Covidien (NYSE:COV), a leading global provider of healthcare products, today announced that it will voluntarily contraindicate the use of its Optimark™ gadoversetamide injection, a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA), in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures involving patients with severe renal impairment. The Company is modifying the product’s label to reflect a contraindication for this small patient population, which constitutes less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population.

Mallinckrodt Inc., a Covidien company, has submitted this label change to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is implementing the new label in the U.S. effective immediately. The revised label contraindicates the product’s use in patients with acute or chronic severe renal insufficiency (glomerular filtration rate of less than 30 mL/min/1.73m2) or acute renal insufficiency of any severity due to hepato-renal syndrome or in the perioperative liver transplant period.

The Company is implementing this label change in all other countries where Optimark contrast agent has been approved for sale, in accordance with local regulatory requirements. Covidien also will update its educational materials to help physicians make informed decisions regarding the appropriate use of this product.

GBCAs are important tools to aid physicians seeking to diagnose and treat patients. In 2008, more than 9.5 million patients in the U.S. were given GBCAs to help improve the diagnostic quality of MRI scans.

When used as directed in appropriately-screened patients, GBCAs have a favorable safety profile, with the majority of any adverse reactions in this class being mild and usually transitory. A possible relationship, however, has been asserted between the use of GBCAs and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) among patients with severe renal impairment. This subset of patients can be easily identified by obtaining patient history and/or laboratory tests.

source: Covidien


PET Imaging Response A Prognostic Factor After Thoracic Radiation Therapy For Lung Cancer

ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2009) — A rapid decline in metabolic activity on a PET scan after radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer is correlated with good local tumor control, according to a study presented by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital at the 51st ASTRO Annual Meeting.

In addition, the researchers also found that the higher the metabolic activity and tumor size on a PET scan before treatment, the more likely a patient is to die from lung cancer.

"PET scanning is an emerging tool of molecular imaging in lung cancer, in contrast to CT scans and MRI scans which are anatomic imaging," said Maria Werner-Wasik, associate professor of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and the study's lead author. "It has become an important tool in the evaluation of lung cancer staging and evaluation of treatment response."

source: Science Daily (release)


Merge Healthcare Continues to Advance MRI by Supporting Excellence in Education at RSNA 2009

Milwaukee, WI, November 5, 2009 – As a part of its commitment to MRI education, Merge Healthcare (NASDAQ: MRGE), a health IT solutions leader, will be supporting broad-based MRI workshops at RSNA (Radiological Society of North America) 2009. Merge will host 13 CADstream® MRI-CAD hands-on workshops at this year’s annual meeting. Workshops will teach RSNA registrants the principles of interpretation and interventional planning in breast MRI, and interpretation of prostate and liver MRI studies. Additionally, Merge will showcase the CADstream liver application, the first MRI-CAD for liver.

Over 300 RSNA registrants are scheduled to attend CADstream MRI-CAD hands-on workshops. Although the workshops are currently sold out through RSNA, a limited number of tickets are available through www.merge.com/CAD. Workshop faculty includes Jeffrey Maki, MD, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Joy Darrah, MD, First Hill Diagnostic Imaging, Seattle, WA; Ian Gardiner, MD, Canada Diagnostic Center, Vancouver, BC; Daniel Margolis, MD, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA and David Russell, MD, Inland Imaging, Spokane, WA.

“We are thrilled to have such a strong response to our educational sessions at RSNA,” says Paul Budak, President, Merge CAD. “CADstream is a dedicated MRI-CAD system designed to dramatically improve workflow by automating the analysis, reporting and monitoring of studies. Thousands of clinicians worldwide use CADstream for breast and prostate analysis. Our commitment to training sessions like these helps further adoption, as well as educates radiologists on new applications like liver.”

source: Merge Healthcare


Unlocking Mysteries of the Brain with PET

Reston, Va.—Inflammatory response of brain cells—as indicated by a molecular imaging technique—could tell researchers more about why certain neurologic disorders, such as migraine headaches and psychosis in schizophrenic patients, occur and provide insight into how to best treat them, according to two studies published in the November issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

By using positron emission tomography (PET)—a noninvasive molecular imaging technique—researchers were to able to identify neuroinflammation, which is marked by activated microglia cells (brain cells that are responsive to injury or infection of brain tissue) in patients with schizophrenia and in animal models with migraines. Although neuroinflammation has been shown to play a major role in many neurodegenerative disorders––such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease––only limited data exists about the role of neuroinflammation in schizophrenia and migraines. The two studies in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine are the first to identify neuroinflammation in specific regions of the brain—a development which could be used to effectively evaluate the treatment response to anti-inflammatory drugs and become transformative for diagnosis and care.

“This study shows that molecular imaging can play an important role in better understanding the processes involving psychiatric and other neurological disorders,” said Janine Doorduin, M.Sc., a researcher at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands and lead author of “Neuroinflammation in Schizophrenia-Related Psychosis: A PET Study.” Doorduin added: “Without molecular imaging, the only way to look at inflammation in the brain, as well as other molecular processes, would be to use post-mortem brains.”

source: Society of Nuclear Medicine


Philips led HYPERImage project advances research on hybrid PET/MR scanner

Orlando, USA – As leader of the European Union funded HYPERImage research project, Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) today announced that the project has achieved a major milestone in its ambitious plan to create a new medical imaging technique called hybrid PET/MR. This new technique is based on the simultaneous acquisition of time-of-flight Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) images.

The project involves eight partners from six European countries and has a total budget of around EUR 7 million. The ultimate goals of the project are to advance the accuracy of diagnostic imaging in cardiology and oncology and open up new fields in therapy planning, guidance and response monitoring.

A hybrid PET/MR scanner could simultaneously deliver the anatomical and functional information achievable using state-of-the-art MR scanners (e.g. soft tissue contrast and physiological processes in blood vessels) and the molecular imaging information provided by PET. As a result, it would combine the best of both worlds, which could ultimately help to pinpoint and characterize disease sites within the body more accurately than is currently possible.

source: Philips Medical


Siemens Powerful Biograph mCT PET•CT System Offers Advanced Tumor Detection and Workflow Solutions

Barcelona, Spain, October 13, 2009 – Siemens Healthcare reported today at the annual meeting of the European Association of Nuclear medicine (EANM) in Barcelona, Spain, that leading hospitals in England, France, Germany and Monaco have shown strong interest and adoption of the Biograph mCT, the worlds first molecular CT, to fuel advanced diagnostic capabilities and to drive greater workflow efficiencies.

The Biograph mCT combines the abilities of a high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) system with those of a premium diagnostic Computed Tomography (CT) system. This unique combination of technologies results in improved image quality reduced scan times and increased patient comfort.

First introduced at EANM in 2008, the Biograph mCT has achieved widespread global adoption due to its game-changing features and benefits. A uniform 2mm image resolution throughout the entire field of view can significantly improve image quality and offer clinicians increased confidence in diagnosis. The ability for five-minute, whole-body PET scanning, combined with a large bore and short tunnel, offers a more flexible solution for demanding workflows, as well as a more comfortable environment for the patient.

The Biograph mCT is unique in that it can serve as a PET•CT system for molecular imaging, and at the same time, it is powerful enough to serve as a dedicated CT. Among the first to work with the new system is Dr. Andreas Bockisch, director of the Clinic for Nuclear Medicine, University Clinic in Essen, Germany, and president of the German Society for Nuclear Medicine.

source: Siemens Medical


The Montreal Children’s Hospital unveils cutting edge intraoperative MRI

Montreal – October 26, 2009: On any ordinary day, six year old Emilie Gagnon gets up and heads off to grade one at her elementary school in Beauce. But October 19 was no ordinary day. Instead of taking the bus to school Emilie was wheeled in to a new operating room at The Montreal Children’s Hospital where she underwent brain surgery.

Emilie suffers from epilepsy caused by a tumour located on her occipital lobe, the rear most portion of the brain which houses the visual cortex, the part of the brain that interprets what our eyes see. Emilie’s tumour was the size of a large egg. The roots of the tumour penetrated deep into her brain. These roots bear a striking resemblance to grey matter making it difficult for surgeons to detect the direction they are growing and where they end.

Emilie was the first child to undergo brain surgery in The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC’s new Pediatric Interventional Brain Suite, home to the first intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) in a Canadian pediatric hospital.

"We're incredibly pleased to be the first pediatric hospital in the country to able to offer our patients the benefit of this remarkable new technology," says Dr. Harvey Guyda, Associate Executive Director of The Montreal Children's Hospital. "Equipment like this is helping us transform how we care for our patients-- a transformation that will take another major step forward when shovels hit the ground later this year for the new Montreal Children's Hospital at the Glen Campus."

This new technology gives the three neurosurgeons at The Montreal Children’s Hospital unprecedented views of the brain before and during surgery thus improving the accuracy of procedures.

“The new intraoperative MRI gives us a tremendous advantage as we navigate through the brain to remove tumours,” says Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer, Chief-of-surgery and a member of the neurosurgery team.

source: Montreal Childrens Hospital


GE Healthcare to Purchase Assets of ONI Medical Systems, Inc., Provider of World’s Only High-Field Dedicated Extremity MRI Scanners

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE Healthcare, the US$ 17 billion healthcare business of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase certain assets of ONI Medical Systems, Inc., a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, USA. In line with GE’s healthymagination vision, ONI’s innovative products will expand GE Healthcare’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) capabilities, offering healthcare professionals a broader range of MRI products to enable more cost-effective imaging procedures in a variety of patient care settings. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ONI Medical Systems is a provider of high performance, low-cost, dedicated purpose MRI systems. This includes the MSK ExtremeTM 1.0T and the MSK ExtremeTM 1.5T, the world’s only compact designed, high-field, truly open configuration extremity MRI systems available in the medical marketplace. ONI’s scanners are designed specifically for imaging of the extremities - only the joint being imaged is inside of the scanner. ONI’s products also have a small footprint for convenient siting in limited spaces and premium image quality, allowing clinicians’ the same diagnostic confidence for extremity imaging at a lower cost when compared to a whole body MRI unit.

“One of the cornerstones of GE’s healthymagination vision is to develop and invest in technologies that increase quality, improve access and decrease costs. In line with this vision, the addition of ONI’s products enhances our Magnetic Resonance business. It gives us an opportunity to explore technologies that will increase patient access for claustrophobic patients, products with a smaller footprint and premium image quality, and specialty systems that provide advanced, cost-effective MR patient imaging,” said Jim Davis, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s global MR business.

Both MSK ExtremeTM 1.0T and MSK ExtremeTM 1.5T scanners are applicable to healthcare providers in hospitals, imaging centers and orthopedic/sports medicine practices where there is a need for an anatomy-specific MRI system that provides a quiet, comfortable, non-claustrophobic experience for patients. The current installed base of these two products is more than 175 units worldwide, including some of the top academic hospitals in the world.

source: GE News


Lung Scintigraphy More Reliable Than CTA in Excluding Pulmonary Embolism in Pregnant Patients

A medical imaging procedure known as lung scintigraphy may be more reliable than pulmonary CT angiography (CTA) for identifying or excluding pulmonary embolism (PE) in pregnant patients, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

PE, a blood clot lodged in an artery supplying the lungs, is the leading cause of maternal death in pregnancy. CTA is the imaging modality of choice for the diagnosis of PE, however lung scintigraphy, a form of radionuclide imaging that produces two-dimensional images, has shown to produce better diagnostic quality images more often than CTA in pregnant patients.

“Our study analyzed 28 CTA studies and 25 lung scintigraphy studies performed on a group of 50 patients,” said Carole A. Ridge, M.D., lead author of the study. “The results showed that lung scintigraphy is more reliable than CTA for the diagnosis of PE. Only one out of 25 lung scintigraphic studies was inadequate for diagnosis; compared to ten out of 28 CTA examinations that were found to be inadequate for diagnosis,” she said. Examinations were considered inadequate when poor image quality prohibited a diagnosis.

source: ARRS


Repligen Announces Completion of Patient Treatment in Phase 3 Clinical Trial of RG1068 in MRI Imaging of the Pancreas

WALTHAM, MA - October 19, 2009 - Repligen Corporation (NASDAQ: RGEN) reported today that it has completed patient treatment in its Phase 3 clinical trial of RG1068, synthetic human secretin, in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas. The study is designed to assess the sensitivity and specificity of RG1068 in conjunction with MRI for the detection of pancreatic duct abnormalities compared to MRI alone. Additional assessments include safety, physician confidence in the identification of structural abnormalities, the number of pancreatic duct segments visualized and the improvement in the quality of the MRI images. The study enrolled 258 patients at 23 clinical sites within the U.S. and Canada. Detailed visual assessment of the pancreatic ducts is important in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Structural abnormalities of the pancreatic ducts were assessed by RG1068 used in conjunction with MRI and independently by endoscopy, a commonly used invasive procedure. There were no serious adverse events (SAEs) associated with the RG1068/MRI procedure compared to 68 patients with an SAE associated with endoscopy. The most commonly reported SAE following endoscopy was acute pancreatitis requiring hospitalization.

source: Repligen Corporation


CT Scans Show Patients With Severe Cases of H1N1 Are at Risk for Developing Acute Pulmonary Emboli

Researchers utilizing computed tomography (CT) scans have found that patients with severe cases of the H1N1 virus are at risk for developing severe complications, including pulmonary emboli (PE), according to a study to be published online Oct. 14, 2009, in the American Journal of Roentgenology. The study will be published in the December issue of the AJR.

A pulmonary embolism occurs when one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked. The condition can be life-threatening. However, if treated aggressively, anti-coagulants (blood thinners) can reduce the risk of death.

The study, performed at the University of Michigan Health Service, included 66 patients diagnosed with the H1N1 flu. Two study groups were formed. Group one consisted of 14 patients who were severely ill and required Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission. Group two consisted of 52 patients who were not severely ill and did not require ICU admission.

All 66 patients underwent chest X-rays for the detection of H1N1 abnormalities. Ten patients from the ICU group and five patients from the largely outpatient group, underwent CT scans. “Pulmonary Emboli were seen on CT in five of 14 ICU patients,” said Prachi P. Agarwal, M.D., lead author of the study.

“Our study suggests that patients who are severely ill with H1N1 are also at risk for developing PE, which should be carefully sought for on contrast-enhanced CT scans,” she said.

source: ARRS

MRI Abundance May Lead To Excess In Back Surgeries, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) — Patients reporting new low-back pain are more likely to undergo surgery if treated in an area with a higher-than-average concentration of magnetic resonance imaging machines, according to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

This may be bad news for patients, since previous studies have found that increased surgery rates don't improve patient outcomes. "The worry is that many people will not benefit from the surgery, so heading in this direction is concerning," said senior author Laurence Baker, PhD, professor of health research and policy.

In their new study, to be published online Oct. 14 in Health Affairs, Baker and first author Jacqueline Baras correlate areas with high numbers of MRI machines to an increased likelihood that MRIs will be performed on new low-back pain patients. In turn, high local MRI availability correlates with increased rates of low-back surgery.

"It is important that policymakers recognize that infrastructure matters, and that the number of MRI machines in any particular area may affect the volume and quality of health care that patients receive," said Baras, a Stanford medical student with a master's degree in health services research.

source: Science Daily (release)


Specter of MRI Disease Haunts GE

Jeff Gerth,

In May 2006, medical regulators in Denmark issued a warning that signaled trouble for General Electric. Danish researchers noted that, over a four-year period, 25 patients in Denmark and Austria had suffered a rare and crippling disease after undergoing an MRI, the scanning procedure used to diagnose everything from brain tumors to blown knees. The patients had been injected with a GE dye that makes images more distinct. They all had weak kidneys before receiving the dye.

The GE product, Omniscan [1], has since been linked to other cases of the disease, which appears to affect only MRI patients who have kidney problems. Similar drugs made by Bayer and others have also been tied to the sometimes fatal ailment, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis [2] (NSF).

Some regulators and researchers in the U.S. and Europe have found that a disproportionate number of NSF cases are associated with GE’s Omniscan [3]. That threatens to create a costly liability mess for the company’s growing $17 billion health-care division, which GE promotes heavily with its "Healthymagination [4]" ad campaign. The company’s diagnostic products generate about $1.8 billion in sales. GE doesn’t provide financial figures on Omniscan.

source and complete article: ProPublica.org


Hyper-SAGE Boosts Remote MRI Sensitivity

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2009) — A new technique in Magnetic Resonance Imaging dubbed "Hyper-SAGE" has the potential to detect ultra low concentrations of clincal targets, such as lung and other cancers. Development of Hyper-SAGE was led by one of the world's foremost authorities on MRI technology, Alexander Pines, a chemist who holds joint appointments with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley.

The key to this technique is xenon gas that has been zapped with laser light to "hyperpolarize" the spins of its atomic nuclei so that most are pointing in the same direction.

"By detecting the MRI signal of dissolved hyperpolarized xenon after the xenon has been extracted back into the gas phase, we can boost the signal's strength up to 10,000 times," Pines says. "It is absolutely amazing because we're looking at pure gas and can reconstruct the whole image of our target. With this degree of sensitivity, Hyper-SAGE becomes a highly promising tool for in vivo diagnostics and molecular imaging."

MRI is a painless and radiation-free means of obtaining high quality three-dimensional tomographical images of internal tissue and organs. It is especially valuable for optically opaque samples, such as blood. However, the application of MRI to biomedical samples has been limited by sensitivity issues. For the past three decades, Pines has led an on-going effort to find ways of enhancing the sensitivity of MRI and its sister technology, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Hyper-SAGE, the latest development, represents a significant new advance for both technologies, according to Xin Zhou, a member of Pines' research group.

source: Science Daily (release)


Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer Can Be Expedited By Combination Of PET/CT Tests In A Fast-Track Setting

Research published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology has found an effective combination of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) (PET/CT) tests to diagnose lung cancer in a "fast-tracked" outpatient setting. This novel approach to the diagnosis of lung cancer demonstrated a high level of sensitivity (97%) and accuracy (82%). The fast track model tests patients for lung cancer over the course of one day and could expedite identification and treatment of the disease.

Using the 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) imaging technique,with a PET/CT scanner, researchers from The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam evaluated 114 patients experiencing pulmonary symptoms and/or abnormal chest x-rays.

source: Medical News Today


Molecular Imaging Holds Promise For Early Intervention In Common Uterine Cancer

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2009) — A promising new molecular imaging technique may provide physicians and patients with a noninvasive way to learn more information about a type of cancer of the uterus lining called "endometrial carcinoma"—one of the most common malignant female tumors. This research was presented in a study published in the October issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Endometrial carcinoma is one of the most common female malignant tumors," says Hidehiko Okazawa, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the division of medical imaging at the biomedical imaging research center at the University of Fukui in Japan and one of the lead researchers of the study. "The method of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging we used in the study is noninvasive, and it has tremendous potential to save women with endometrial carcinoma from undergoing unnecessary operations and biopsies that could sabotage their reproductive potential."

If the disease is caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is higher than 90% for patients with endometrial carcinoma. PET imaging may provide physicians with a tool that lets them recognize the extent of the disease before it reaches advanced stages.

source: Science Daily (release)


Positron Anticipates Cardiac PET Demand to Increase Due to Expanding Reimbursment Differential Between PET and SPECT Imaging

INDIANAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Positron Corporation (OTCBB:POSC - News) a molecular imaging solutions company focused on Nuclear Cardiology, predicts a significant rise in demand for Cardiac PET in 2010 with a proposed cut in SPECT reimbursement of 46% and an increase in PET reimbursement of 22%, issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The nuclear medicine imaging community continues to face challenges with Cardiac SPECT due to Molybdenum shortages, cuts in reimbursement and an increase in operational costs. The proposed reduction in reimbursement by CMS for 2010, whose final decision is due out in early November, includes elimination and/or bundling of additional billing codes. The pressure on SPECT has caused physicians to revaluate their current technology offering and look to new sources of imaging income though PET.

CMS, has proposed an increase in the 2010 PET reimbursement by 22% ($1,429), while maintaining Rb82 reimbursement at $250 per dose. Additionally, there are new PET myocardial perfusion agents in clinical phase III trials and more than three other Cardiovascular PET specific radiopharmaceuticals in clinical phase I & II, which will drive demand for Positron’s Attrius™ Cardiac PET system.

sourceP: Positron


Despite Ongoing Patient Safety Concerns, Study Finds Adverse Reactions from Contrast Agents Used During CT and MR Imaging Rarely Occur

Iodinated and Gadolinium based contrast agents, frequently used during computed tomography (CT) and MRI scans to aid in the imaging process, are associated with a very low rate of adverse effects, according to a large cohort study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

The study, performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, included a total of 456,930 contrast doses administered. “Only 522 cases of adverse effects were identified,” said Christopher H. Hunt, MD, lead author of the study. “The overwhelming majority of adverse effects were mild, represented with nausea and vomiting and mild rash. Only 16 cases necessitated transfer for further observation and treatment,” he said.

“Contrast agents are very safe to use and they are often essential in aiding the diagnosis of CT and MR studies. As our study suggests, with the advent of newer contrast agents we have been able to improve their power-ability and safety profile,” said Dr. Hunt.

source: ARRS


Cheap, Quick Bedside 'Eye Movement' Exam Outperforms MRI For Diagnosing Stroke In Patients

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2009) — In a small “proof of principle” study, stroke researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Illinois have found that a simple, one-minute eye movement exam performed at the bedside worked better than an MRI to distinguish new strokes from other less serious disorders in patients complaining of dizziness, nausea and spinning sensations.

Results of the study of 101 patients , who were already at higher than normal risk of stroke because of factors including high blood pressure or high cholesterol, were published online ahead of print on Sept. 17 in Stroke. The patients were all seen at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill.

The project, spearheaded by a Johns Hopkins neurologist in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Illinois in Peoria, found that the quick, extremely low-cost exam caught more strokes than the current gold standard of MRI, suggesting that if further research on broader populations confirms these results, physicians may have a way to improve care and avoid the high costs of MRI in some cases.

source: Science Daily Release


Cardiac MRI Exams Emerge As "Gold Standard" For Heart-Cardio Imaging

Developments in imaging technology and software continue to help cardiac MRI exams gain prominence in the medical imaging market by meeting the demand for faster scan times and the ability to view areas of the body that were previously deemed impossible to image, according to "Medical Imaging Markets: MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and Ultrasound" by healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information. And this trend will drive sales of MRI equipment. Kalorama projects sales of MRI equipment to customers in the still underutilized cardiac area to grow between 2.5% and 4% starting in 2010. World market revenue for MRI systems used in heart-cardio scanning is forecast to reach $605 million in 2012, up from $556 million in 2008.

"While it's likely that an ECG and angiography will be utilized before a cardiac MRI, the 3D whole heart applications provide an additional option for cardiologists," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "MRI will increasingly be used not just for more complicated applications, such as assessing a cardiac tumor, or evaluating congenital heart disease prior to surgery."

source: Medical News Today


Siemens and SurgiVision to Develop MRI-Guided Cardiac Electrophysiology System

Malvern, Pa., Sept. 8, 2009 – Siemens Healthcare and SurgiVision, Inc. today announced an agreement for the co-development and commercialization of a real-time magnetic resonance image (MRI)-guided cardiac electrophysiology (EP) system. The two companies are collaborating with the University of Utah to bring to the clinic a fully integrated, ground-breaking EP MRI system that promises to improve conventional catheter-based cardiac procedures.

“Siemens’ scanner technologies, platform for interactive real-time guidance, and market leadership in MRI are second to none. By bringing together Siemens’ capabilities with SurgiVision’s technologies and expertise in real-time MRI-guided interventions, we are well-positioned to deliver a fully integrated hardware, software and catheter system that will provide real-time visualization within an intuitive physician interface and a procedure that eliminates radiation exposure,” said Kimble Jenkins, chief executive officer of SurgiVision. He added, “Our close research collaboration with the University of Utah rounds out our team with deep clinical expertise and broad research capabilities.”

“We are excited to work with SurgiVision in the development of these important technologies that have the potential to significantly improve therapies for patients suffering from cardiac arrhythmias, in particular atrial fibrillation,” said Walter Märzendorfer, chief executive officer, Magnetic Resonance, Siemens Healthcare.

source: Siemens Medical


IMRIS receives FDA clearance for IMRISnv and IMRIScardio

WINNIPEG, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - IMRIS Inc. (TSX: IM) ("IMRIS" or the "Company") today announced that it has received
510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), permitting the Company to market its newest products, IMRISNV and IMRIScardio in the United States.

IMRISNV and IMRIScardio are the first systems in the world to allow the capabilities of both MRI and x-ray angiography in a single suite without theneed to transport the patient between modalities.

Neurovascular diseases including acute ischemic stroke require rapid assessment and treatment. IMRISNV features a wide bore 3T MRI scanner and a bi-plane angiography system completely integrated into a single suite that permits the patient to transition quickly and seamlessly between MR imaging and intervention without transporting the patient between modalities. Using IMRISNV, MR images can be
taken before and during procedures to assess tissue health, and can also be used in conjunction with the fluoroscopic images during the interventional procedure. On completion of the procedure, new images can be taken to evaluate the intervention.

source: IMRIS


PET/CT Scans May Help Detect Recurring Prostate Cancer Earlier

RESTON, Va.—A new study published in the September issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that positron emission tomography (PET)/computer tomography (CT) scans with the imaging agent choline could detect recurring prostate cancer sooner than conventional imaging technologies in some patients who have had their prostates surgically removed. In addition, the journal also includes a paper that provides a broader examination of new agents and techniques for imaging prostate cancer, which accounts for 10 percent of all cancer-related deaths in the United States and is the most common type of cancer among men.

Many men diagnosed with prostate cancer choose to have a radical prostatecomy, which involves surgical removal of the entire gland and surrounding tissue. However, prostate cancer recurs within five years in as many as 30 percent of these patients. Physicians monitor patients who have undergone the procedure by checking levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. If PSA is detected after radical prostatectomy—known as biochemical relapse—then imaging techniques are essential to determine whether and exactly where in the body the cancer has recurred. The study examined PET/CT scans with radioactively labeled choline—a promising molecular imaging tool which has been shown to be more accurate than conventional imaging techniques such as CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bone scintigraphy in detecting recurrent prostate cancer.

source: SNM

Syngo DynaCT Cardiac From Siemens: 3D Images For Cardiovascular Imaging

At the ESC (European Society of Cardiology) Congress 2009, Siemens will be demonstrating a new cardiac application for the syngo DynaCT Cardiac imaging application. During transfemoral aortic valve replacement, a heart valve prosthesis gets implanted via peripheral artery access. To position aortic valve prostheses accurately, the cardiologist must have very precise knowledge of the individual anatomy of the patient's aorta. That's where syngo DynaCT Cardiac comes in: During the intervention, it generates CT-like cross-sectional images on an angiographic C-arm system and offers 3D reconstruction of the aortic root. These 3D images can be overlaid on actual fluoroscopic images and provide a kind of three-dimensional roadmap for the examiner. Thus, with syngo DynaCT Cardiac, the cardiologist can position the valve prosthesis more accurate and more quickly than before.

source: Medical News Today


PET Can Help Guide Treatment Decisions For A Common Pediatric Cancer

A new study published in the August issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that positron emission tomography (PET) is an important tool for depicting the extent of neuroblastoma in some patients, particularly for those in the early stages of the disease. Neuroblastoma accounts for six to ten percent of all childhood cancers in the United States and 15 percent of cancer deaths in children. Accurately identifying where in the body the disease is located and whether it is spreading is critical for choosing appropriate types of treatment, which can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and-in the most advanced cases-a combination of all of these treatments along with bone marrow transplant or investigational therapies.

In recent years, 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) has been the main functional imaging agent used to assess the disease. Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET imaging of neuroblastoma is increasing, but questions remain regarding when and in which patients FDG PET imaging is most useful.

source: Medical News Today


First Accreditation Received For High-Field Extremity MRI

DANBURY, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Northeast Radiology has received the first-in-the-nation American College of Radiology (ACR) Accreditation for its High-Field, Extremity, Open MRIs located in Danbury, Connecticut and Mount Kisco, New York. Both locations feature the MSK Extreme® MRI from ONI Medical Systems.

Dr. Howard Lee, President of Northeast Radiology, explains, “We worked closely with the ACR to meet the standards of excellence for Extremity, Open MRI. The MRI standards set by ACR are the most demanding in the field of radiology and we are proud to be the first practice to have received ACR accreditation for the High-Field, Extremity, Open MRI.”

When a patient needs an MRI for their knee, hand, wrist, elbow, foot, or ankle, they can relax in a reclining chair while placing only the body part needing imaging inside the scanner. The patient can read a book or listen to music. Parents or guardians appreciate that they can sit next to a child and interact while the child has a comfortable MRI.

“I have found that the High-Field, Extremity, Open MRI is especially suited for claustrophobic or pediatric patients,” explains Dr. Kei Doi, musculoskeletal radiologist for Northeast Radiology. “It is an extremely comfortable examination and the feedback we’ve received from our patients has been favorable.”

source: Business Wire


Neusoft Medical's Latest Innovation, NeuViz 16 CT Scanner, Approved by FDA for the U.S. Market

SHENYANG, China, July 24 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Neusoft Medical Systems Co., Ltd. (Neusoft Medical), a wholly owned subsidiary of Neusoft Corporation (600718.SH), officially announced that its newly developed Computed Tomography(CT) system, NeuViz 16 multi-slice CT scanner, has been approved by the FDA recently, and is also marked as the first of its kind in China. As its first 16 multi-slice CT scanner was shipped to its U.S.-based customers recently, Neusoft Medical has made its newest innovation entered into the global high-end medical market, indicating another breakthrough for the company in the field of high-end medical equipment, following its introduction of PET system in May 2009.

NeuViz 16 multi-slice CT scanner is designed with the latest integrated detector for optimized SNR and scanning time, and its patented technology of dynamic focal spot ensures a higher spatial resolution during scanning and creates more detailed 3D/MPR images. The product also features DoseRight Modulation as well as a pediatric protocol to ensure optimized dose without compromising image quality.

source: PR Newswire


Low-Dose CT Method, Delivering 50% Less Radiation, Correctly Identifies Patients with Appendicitis

Patients with possible appendicitis are typically evaluated using a standard-dose contrast enhanced CT, but a low-dose unenhanced CT that delivers approximately 50% less radiation is just as effective, according to a study performed at the Seoul National University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. The standard-dose enhanced CT scan delivers approximately 8.0 mSv of radiation; the low-dose unenhanced CT scan delivers approximately 4.2 mSv of radiation.

A total of 78 patients with appendicitis were all evaluated using both the standard-dose and low-dose methods. CT images were then reviewed by two separate radiologists. Radiologist number one was able to correctly identify appendicitis in 77/78 patients using the low-dose unenhanced method and in 78/78 using the standard-dose enhanced method. Radiologist number two was able to correctly identify appendicitis in all 78 patients using both methods.

“Considering the high incidence of appendicitis in the general population and the rapidly increasing use of CT, small individual risks applied to such an increasingly large population may create a public health issue in the future,” said Kyoung Ho Lee, MD, lead author of the study.

source: ARRS


Study Estimates Radiation Dose, Cancer Risk From Coronary Artery Calcium Screening

A study based on computer modeling of radiation risk suggests that widespread screening for the buildup of calcium in the arteries using computed tomography scans would lead to an estimated 42 additional radiation-induced cancer cases per 100,000 men and 62 cases per 100,000 women, according to a report in the July 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Coronary artery calcification is associated with coronary artery disease. "Computed tomography (CT) has been proposed as a tool for routine screening for coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic individuals as part of a comprehensive risk assessment," the authors write as background information in the article. Evidence suggests that this type of screening may detect the presence of calcium in the arteries of individuals who would be at low risk when assessed by traditional risk factors. "However, the potential risks of screening, including the risk of radiation-induced cancer, have to be considered along with the potential benefits."

source: Medical News`Today


Using Structural MRI May Help Accurately Diagnose Dementia Patients: Mayo Clinic Study

A new Mayo Clinic study may help physicians differentially diagnose three common neurodegenerative disorders in the future. The study was presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease on July 11 in Vienna.

In this study, Mayo Clinic researchers developed a framework for MRI-based differential diagnosis of three common neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and Lewy body disease using Structural MRI. Currently, examination of the brain at autopsy is the only way to confirm with certainty that a patient had a specific form of dementia. The framework, which is called "STructural Abnormality iNDex" or STAND-Map, shows promise in accurately diagnosing dementia patients while they are alive. The rationale is that if each neurodegenerative disorder can be associated with a unique pattern of atrophy specific on MRI, then it may be possible to differentially diagnose new patients.

source: Medical News Today


Cardiac CT Is More Cost Effective When Managing Low-Risk Patients with Chest Pain in the Emergency Department

The use of cardiac CT for low-risk chest pain patients in the emergency department, instead of the traditional standard of care (SOC) workup, may reduce a patient’s length of stay and hospital charges, according to a study performed at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. The SOC workup, which is timely and expensive, consists of a series of cardiac enzyme tests, ECGs and nuclear stress testing.

Fifty patients were included in the study. “We found that cardiac CT based workups in low risk chest pain patients decreased the length of hospital stay up to 20 hours and was significantly cheaper (44% less) than using the standard of care workup,” said Janet May, MS, lead author of the study. “The SOC mean length of stay was 25.4 hours and the mean length of stay for cardiac CT with observation was 14.3 hours. The mean charges for SOC were $7,597; the mean charges for cardiac CT with observation were $6,153; and the mean charges for cardiac CT without observation were $4,251,” said May.

“Delivering care through emergency departments is expensive, so cost containment in that setting is critical. Over six million patients present to US emergency rooms each year with chest pain and up to 79% of those patients fall into the low-risk category,” she said.

“Our study shows that cardiac CT has the potential to significantly reduce cost and length of stay in the emergency department by rapidly identifying those patients who can safely be discharged quickly,” said May.

source: ARRS


Mouse Study Shows PET Can Measure Effectiveness Of Novel Breast Cancer Treatment

A new study published in the July issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that positron emission tomography (PET) scans in mice can be used to determine whether a novel type of breast cancer treatment is working as intended. Researchers successfully used PET and a specially-developed radioactive compound to image HER2 - a protein often associated with aggressive breast cancer - in breast cancer cells before and after treatment aimed at decreasing HER2 expression. This molecular imaging methodology could facilitate development of new targeted therapies not only for breast cancer, but also for certain types of ovarian, prostate, and lung cancers that may be aggravated due to HER2.

"Obtaining an accurate assessment of the HER2 expression levels in breast cancer tumors is absolutely essential to know whether treatment aimed at reduction of the protein levels in tumor cells is effective," said Jacek Capala, senior author of the study and investigator for the radiation oncology branch of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. "Our study indicates that PET could be a powerful tool both to identify patients who might benefit from targeted molecular therapies and to manage their care by measuring response to treatment. As research into HER2 therapies continues, similar techniques could be developed for other cancers overexpressing different proteins."

source: Medical News Today


Radiation Dose Drastically Reduced During Whole Chest MDCT

Emergency physicians who evaluate patients with non-specific chest pain using whole chest multi-detector CT (MDCT) combined with retrospective electrocardiogram (ECG) gating can reduce the patient radiation dose by 71% using MDCT combined with prospective ECG triggering instead, according to a study performed at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Prospective ECG triggering enables the CT scanner to monitor the ECG signal of several heart beats in real time and turns the radiation beam on only during alternate beats; retrospective ECG gating also monitors the ECG signal of heartbeats but turns the radiation beam on throughout several consecutive beats, thus delivering more radiation.

Seventy-two emergency department patients with non-specific chest pain were referred for MDCT of the whole chest. A total of 41 patients were scanned using retrospective gating and 31 were scanned using prospective triggering. “The average radiation dose delivered with retrospective gating was approximately 32 mSv; the average radiation dose delivered with prospective triggering was 9 mSv,” said William P. Shuman, MD, lead author of the study. In addition, image quality was slightly better with prospective triggering.

“As our study suggests, patients benefit from MDCT scans using ECG triggering because it delivers a much lower radiation dose—opening the utility of CT to more patients. This lower dose is particularly useful when non-specific indications suggest scanning of the whole chest, such as in the “triple rule-out.” Emergency rooms face severe congestion and cost constraints in today’s world, plus a need for accurate, swift diagnosis. Lower dose, high image quality ECG triggered CT will help significantly on all of those fronts,” said Dr. Shuman.



Less Invasive CT-Scan Based Colorectal Cancer Screening Method Shows Good Accuracy

Newswise — Computed tomographic (CT) colonography may offer patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer an alternative to colonoscopy that is less-invasive, is better-tolerated and has good diagnostic accuracy, according to a study in the June 17 issue of JAMA.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) accounts for approximately 210,000 deaths each year in Europe. CT colonography is a procedure in which a detailed picture of the colon is created by an x-ray machine linked to a computer. It has been shown to be sufficiently accurate in detecting colorectal neoplasia (abnormal growth of cells) and is now considered a valid alternative for CRC screening in the general population. Individuals at increased risk of CRC include those with a first-degree family history of advanced colorectal neoplasia and those with positive results from fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs). “However, adherence to follow-up colonoscopy in these individuals is suboptimal. Being less invasive and thus more tolerable, CT colonography may increase acceptability and adherence to screening, but little information is available on its performance,” the authors write.

Daniele Regge, M.D., of the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Candiolo, Turin, Italy, and colleagues assessed the accuracy of CT colonography in detecting advanced colorectal neoplasia in asymptomatic individuals at increased risk of CRC using colonoscopy as the reference standard. The multicenter study included individuals at increased risk of CRC due to either family history of advanced neoplasia in first-degree relatives, personal history of colorectal adenomas (benign tumors), or positive results from FOBTs. Each participant underwent CT colonography followed by colonoscopy on the same day.

source: Newswise


Knee replacements: Pinpointing the cause of infection

PET accurately detects hard-to-diagnose infections following knee replacement, say researchers at SNM's 56th Annual Meeting

TORONTO—A new study reveals that PET scans accurately detect infections in prosthetic knee joints more than 90 percent of the time, according to researchers at the SNM's 56th Annual Meeting. The findings could represent a significant breakthrough in the treatment of patients who undergo joint replacements. Joint replacements are prone to a number of complications following implantation.

"Infections following joint replacement surgery are very serious, very common and very difficult to distinguish from other problems such as loosening of the prosthetic," said Abass Alavi, professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the principal investigator of the study. "Our study shows that no other diagnostic tool comes close to PET in accurately diagnosing infection with minimal discomfort for patients. What's more, the broader implication is that PET could eventually be used to successfully detect infections and inflammation for other conditions."

It is estimated that more than one million joint replacements are performed in the United States each year. Infections following implant procedures are difficult to fight because the immune system is unable to destroy bacteria that live on the implanted material. Even after treatment with strong antibiotics, the infections can persist. As a result, it is often necessary to remove prosthetic joints if they become infected.

source: Eurekalert


New Study Demonstrates NanoScan's Novel Contrast Agent May Identify Heart Attack In Waiting

NanoScan Imaging, LLC announced the publication of new data demonstrating the use of its investigational, radio-opaque contrast agent (N1177) to visualize vulnerable plaques that can cause heart attack or stroke using advanced, non-invasive and high-resolution computed tomography (CT) techniques. Results of the study were published in the current issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Nuclear Medicine (J Nucl Med. 2009 Jun;50(6):959-965).

N1177, an emulsified suspension that is composed of crystalline iodinated particles dispersed with surfactant, is being developed to visualize blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins and the heart chambers using a technique known as CT angiography (CTA). N1177 also accumulates in macrophage cells allowing for their detection with CT.

source: Medical News Today


Baylor Dallas Opens Nation's First Neurosurgical OR Suite Featuring BrainSUITE IMRI, GE Healthcare MR Surgical Technology

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is the first hospital in the country to collaborate with GE Healthcare and BrainLAB to open technically advanced neurosurgery operating room (OR) suites that will allow neurosurgeons to use real-time, intra-operative images of the brain during surgery. The $16.5 million operating suites will be the first to combine the BrainSUITE(R) iMRI and GE Healthcare MR Surgical Suite.

The four operating room suites opened this week and are equipped to use a high-definition magnetic resonance scanner and BrainSUITE iMRI navigation system that will help physicians more accurately view a tumor's location and remove diseased tissue.

source: Medical News Today


Oxygen Plus MRI Might Help Determine Cancer Therapy Success

ScienceDaily (June 3, 2009) — A simple magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test involving breathing oxygen might help oncologists determine the best treatment for some cancer patients, report researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Prior research has shown that the amount of oxygen present in a tumor can be a predictor of how well a patient will respond to treatment. Tumors with little oxygen tend to grow stronger and resist both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Until now, however, the only way to gauge the oxygen level in a tumor, and thus determine which treatment might be more effective, was to insert a huge needle directly into the cancerous tumor.

The new technique, known as BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) MRI, can detect oxygen levels in tumors without the need for an invasive procedure. The patient need only be able to breathe in oxygen when undergoing an MRI.

source Science Daily (press release)


Toshiba Introduces New Multi-Detector CT Systems

TUSTIN, California — May 20, 2009 — Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. today introduces two advanced multi-detector CT systems, the Aquilion® Premium edition and the Aquilion CX edition. The Aquilion Premium rounds out the company's CT portfolio to include a product with 160-detector rows and coverage up to 8 cm in a single rotation. This system is also field-upgradeable to an Aquilion ONE. The Aquilion CX is Toshiba's next generation 64-detector row CT system featuring faster reconstruction standards with up to 28 images per second, Toshiba's proven Quantum Advantage detector technology and a patient couch that can accommodate up to 660 lbs. The Aquilion Premium and Aquilion CX are both available now.

"Toshiba is committed to listening to its customers and providing the right technology mix for the community," said Doug Ryan, senior director, CT Business Unit, Toshiba. "We developed the Aquilion Premium and Aquilion CX to meet our customers' ever-changing medical imaging needs. The Aquilion Premium provides an upgrade path to the Aquilion ONE, the world's first dynamic volume CT, while the Aquilion CX is an advanced 64-detector row CT system that incorporates superior features of the existing Aquilion 64."

source: Toshiba Medical Ststems


New Diagnostic Method For Gout: Dual Energy Computed Tomography Instead Of Joint Aspiration

The most reliable method of diagnosing gout is to aspirate the joint in order to obtain fluid to verify the presence of monosodium urate crystals (uric acid). Up to now, computed tomography (CT) has played a limited role in the evaluation of gout, since conventional CT systems cannot reliably verify deposits of uric acid. However, a current study at the Vancouver General Hospital in Canada gives rise to speculation that dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) could radically change the diagnosis of this disease. DECT enables fast, noninvasive examinations and, based on initial evaluations, has the potential to surpass the invasive gold standard and clinical examination in terms of reliability. Investigations have confirmed the high sensitivity of the DECT method in detecting uric acid deposits. The Canadian scientists used the SOMATOM Definition computed tomography (CT scanner) from Siemens for their investigation. This system is the only CT scanner worldwide that features two X-ray tubes capable of simultaneously producing different energies.

source: Medical News Today


Toshiba Introduces New Multi-Detector CT Systems

TUSTIN, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. today introduces two advanced multi-detector CT systems, the Aquilion® Premium edition and the Aquilion CX edition. The Aquilion Premium rounds out the company’s CT portfolio to include a product with 160-detector rows and coverage up to 8 cm in a single rotation. This system is also field-upgradeable to an Aquilion ONE. The Aquilion CX is Toshiba’s next generation 64-detector row CT system featuring faster reconstruction standards with up to 28 images per second, Toshiba’s proven Quantum Advantage detector technology and a patient couch that can accommodate up to 660 lbs. The Aquilion Premium and Aquilion CX are both available now.

“Toshiba is committed to listening to its customers and providing the right technology mix for the community,” said Doug Ryan, senior director, CT Business Unit, Toshiba. “We developed the Aquilion Premium and Aquilion CX to meet our customers’ ever-changing medical imaging needs. The Aquilion Premium provides an upgrade path to the Aquilion ONE, the world’s first dynamic volume CT, while the Aquilion CX is an advanced 64-detector row CT system that incorporates superior features of the existing Aquilion 64.”

Because the Aquilion Premium is field-upgradeable to an Aquilion ONE, this product enables the medical community to have access to advanced technology today, while allowing physicians and administrators to plan for their future needs. Additionally, the Aquilion Premium comes standard with the 72 kW generator, a 660 lb patient weight couch and advanced features like iStation display and 8 cm dynamic scanning capability.

source: Business Wire


Efficacy Of CT Scans For Chest Pain Diagnosis Validated By Long-Term Study Results

The first long-term study following a large number of chest pain patients who are screened with coronary computerized tomographic angiography (CTA) confirms that the test is a safe, effective way to rule out serious cardiovascular disease in patients who come to hospital emergency rooms with chest pain, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine which was presented Friday, May 15, 2009 at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine's annual conference.

Chest pain is a common and costly health complaint in the United States, bringing 8 million Americans to hospital emergency departments each year. Although just five to 15 percent of those patients are found to be suffering from heart attacks or other cardiac diseases, more than half are admitted to the hospital for observation and further testing. CTA streamlines the process and provides a faster, and less expensive way to evaluate which patients have an acute coronary syndrome that require treatment.

source: Medical News Today


CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk Estimates in Multiply-Imaged Emergency Department Patients

Physicians should review a patient’s CT imaging history and cumulative radiation dose when considering whether to perform another CT exam, according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

The study included 130 patients who had at least three emergency department visits within one year in which they had a CT scan of the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis. “We gathered the recent CT exam histories for each of these patients and found that half had undergone ten or more CT scans in the previous eight years, up to a maximum of 70 CT scans,” said Aaron Sodickson, MD, PhD. “Using typical dose values and standard risk estimation methods, we calculated that half of our group had accrued additional radiation-induced cancer risks above baseline greater than 1 in 110, up to a maximum of 1 in 17.”

“A patient’s cumulative risk of radiation-induced cancers is believed to increase with increasing cumulative radiation dose. The level of risk is further increased for patients scanned at young ages and is in general greater for women than for men. There is no absolute threshold, however, and the potential risks of radiation induced cancer must be balanced against the expected clinical benefits of the CT scan for the patient’s particular scenario,” he said.

source: ARRS


University of Utah Health Care Opens First Integrated EP MRI Lab in North America

SALT LAKE CITY (May 1, 2009) — University of Utah Health Care today celebrated the opening of the first integrated electrophysiology (EP) MRI laboratory in North America. Located on the fourth floor of University Hospital, the lab will accelerate the work of University physicians and researchers in diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm disorder affecting more than 3.5 million Americans and causing more than 66,000 deaths each year. University Health Care administrators, physicians, and staff joined with AF patients, donors, and Siemens executives for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tours of the lab.

The new lab is a multi-disciplinary partnership between University Hospital, the University’s Division of Cardiology, Department of Radiology, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, and the Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research (UCAIR). It features an 18,000-pound MAGNETOM 3T Verio from Siemens, which offers some of the most advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services clinically available. The MRI’s three-dimensional imaging provides greater resolution of the heart tissue than the two-dimensional images typically used, giving physicians a more precise and powerful tool for diagnosis and treatment.

source: University of Utah Healthcare


Siemens Marks First U.S. Installation of SOMATOM Definition Flash CT System

Malvern, Pa., April 27, 2009 – Highlighting lowest dose and fastest speed, Siemens Healthcare (www.usa.siemens.com/healthcare) announces Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as the first medical facility in the United States to offer patients the innovations of the SOMATOM® Definition Flash dual-source computed tomography (CT) scanner. The SOMATOM Definition Flash requires only a fraction of the radiation dose that systems previously required to scan even the tiniest anatomical details. The fastest scanning speed in CT (i.e., 43 cm/s) and a temporal resolution of 75 ms enable complete scans of the entire chest region in just 0.6 seconds. Thus, clinicians now have the option of not requiring their patients to hold their breath during the exam.

”Interdisciplinary teamwork at Mayo, combined with industry collaborations like this, continues to support our hallmark mission of extraordinary patient care at Mayo. This second generation dual-source CT scanner offers new applications that can benefit our patients while minimizing risks,” said J.G. Fletcher, M.D., Mayo Clinic. “Reduced radiation dose and scanning speed provide new opportunities for routine use of dual energy CT. This technique helps to highlight pathologies, giving Mayo an additional tool in patient diagnosis and treatment.”

source: Siemens Healthcare