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