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