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


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


Using PET/CT Imaging, UCLA Cancer Researchers Can Tell After A Single Cycle Of Chemotherapy Whether Drugs Are Working

Oncologists often have to wait months before they can determine whether a treatment is working. Now, using a non-invasive method, researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have shown that they can determine after a single cycle of chemotherapy whether the toxic drugs are killing the cancer or not.

Using a combination Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) scanner, researchers monitored 50 patients undergoing treatment for high-grade soft tissue sarcomas. The patients were receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatments to shrink their tumors prior to surgery. The study found that response could be determined about a week after the first dose of chemotherapy drugs. Typically, patients are scanned at about three months into chemotherapy to determine whether the treatment is working.

source: Medical News Today


Medicare Expands Coverage Of PET Scans As Cancer Diagnostic Tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final national coverage determination (NCD) to expand coverage for initial testing with positron emission tomography (PET) for Medicare beneficiaries who are diagnosed with and treated for most solid tumor cancers.This NCD removes a clinical study requirement for PET scan use in these patients.

Since 2005, Medicare coverage of PET scans for diagnosing some forms of cancer and guiding treatment has been tied to a requirement that providers collect clinical information about how the scans have affected doctors' treatment decisions. This information was gathered through the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) observational study. This decision removes the requirement to report data to the NOPR when the PET scan is used to support initial treatment (or diagnosis and "staging") of most solid tumor cancers.

source: Medical News Today


Radiation Dose Can Be Reduced For “Triple Rule-Out” Coronary CT Angiography

Physicians can dramatically reduce the radiation dose delivered to patients undergoing coronary CT angiography in a “triple rule-out” protocol by simply using tube current modulation, according to a study performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

The study included 172 patients who were evaluated using coronary CT angiography without tube current modulation and 95 patients who were evaluated with tube current modulation. The effective radiation dose ranged between 9.9 and 31.3 mSv in patients without modulation; the dose ranged between 5.4 and 16.6 mSv in patients with modulation. “Image quality was comparable to when we didn’t use tube current modulation,” said Kevin M. Takakuwa, MD, lead author of the study.

“One of the major criticisms of the triple rule out coronary CT angiography study is the concern about the high amount of radiation given, which has been estimated by some to be as high as 30-40 mSv. Our study demonstrates that the radiation is a lot less, averaging less than 9 mSv when using tube current modulation. In addition, it uses less radiation than a nuclear stress test, a common alternative study to the triple rule-out cardiac CT,” he said.

source: ARRS


SNM Calls CMS PET Scan Decision a Major Benefit for Cancer Patients

Reston, Va.—SNM applauds today's decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand coverage of positron emission tomography (PET) scans in the initial treatment strategy of patients with cancer. This decision was based, in large part, on compelling clinical evidence of the effectiveness of PET for cancer management and treatment contained in a comprehensive study known as the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR).

"This is a major victory for patients," said Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A., president of SNM and University of New Mexico/Los Alamos National Laboratory professor of pharmacy. "CMS' decision to cover PET scans for cancer demonstrates the intrinsic medical value of PET and important role of these scans in diagnosing, staging, restaging and monitoring treatment for many cancers."

Previously, PET scans for many cancers would be reimbursed only if the PET facility submitted data to the NOPR. Now, all Medicare beneficiaries with certain cancers will be able to receive Medicare coverage for at least one PET scan, as prescribed by their physicians. The nine currently covered cancers— breast, cervix, colorectal, esophageal, head and neck, lymphoma, melanoma, non-small cell lung and thyroid—have all been expanded to cover the subsequent treatment strategy, in addition to initial diagnosis.

source: SNM


Radiologists Can Dramatically Lower Cardiac CT Radiation Dose in Some Patients

Radiologists can now lower the radiation dose delivered by cardiac CT angiography by 39% in adult patients weighing 185 pounds or less, according to a study performed at the University of Erlangen in Erlangen, Germany.

The study included one hundred patients, weighing 185 pounds or less, who underwent cardiac CT angiography either using a tube voltage of 120 kV or 100 kV. Results showed that the effective radiation dose for patients scanned with 120 kV ranged from 8.8 to 16.9 mSv; the effective radiation dose for patients scanned with 100 kV ranged from 4.9 to 11.9 mSv. “At the same time, the overall image quality was preserved. Image quality scores using 120 kV were 2.7 plus/minus 0.5; scores using 100 kV were 2.6 plus/minus 0.4,” said Tobias Pflederer, MD, lead author of the study.

“Coronary CT angiography has tremendously high accuracy for detecting and ruling out coronary artery stenosis. It is expected that indications for coronary CT angiography will grow in the future,” he said.

“The standard coronary CT angiography protocol uses the higher tube voltage value of 120 kV however our study shows that 100 kV can be used instead. It is important to keep the radiation dose as low as possible, especially in younger and female patients,” said Dr. Pflederer.

source: ARRS


CT Scans: Too Much Of A Good Thing Can Be Risky

Patients who undergo numerous CT scans over their lifetime may be at increased risk for cancer, according to a study published in the April issue of Radiology.

"We found that while most patients accrue small cumulative cancer risks, 7 percent of the patients in our study had enough recurrent CT imaging to raise their estimated cancer risk by 1 percent or more above baseline levels," said Aaron Sodickson, M.D., Ph.D., assistant director of Emergency Radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and researcher at the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging in Boston. "The techniques implemented in our study can be used to identify higher risk patients who might benefit from enhanced radiation protection efforts."

CT has proven to be a valuable clinical tool, and its use has grown rapidly. According to a 2008 IMV Medical Information Division report, approximately 68.7 million CT exams were performed in the U.S. in 2007, up from 62 million in 2006. CT provides detailed images of internal organs and is a common technique used to make medical diagnoses and help guide medical treatment decisions. However, CT uses a higher radiation dose than most other imaging exams.

source: Medical News Today