CT Scans See Usage in 'Severe' H1N1 Cases

(Marketwire) -- 01/29/10 -- Published reports on the usefulness of CT scans for complicated H1N1 cases have spurred use of these procedures in U.S. hospitals. According to healthcare market research publisher Kalorama Information, this opens up a pathway of diagnostics for physicians and overall is a positive sign not only for the technology but also for companies making chemical agents for procedures. In the recent report "Medical Imaging Markets: Contrast Agents," Kalorama estimates the sale of CT contrast agents in the U.S. at $880 million in 2009.

Computed tomography (CT) uses energy waves to image the human body and renders an image in 3D from a series of two-dimensional x-rays. Although it is not completely novel for a CT scan to be ordered for flu cases where pain is reported, a new study suggests the technology is preferable to x-rays. The study, conducted in coordination with the University of Michigan Health Service and published in the December 2009 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, has given new support to the modality's usage in the most severe cases of the H1N1 flu virus.

The study, which consisted of a review of thousands of patient records, offered several important findings: that H1N1 flu can cause pulmonary embolism, that PE may be responsible for H1N1 deaths, and that physician evaluation of patients diagnosed with respiratory complications via contrast-enhanced CT scan is recommended. The study did not establish the technology as a test for detecting the virus itself. The primary test for H1N1 is an immunoassay that can detect antigens for specific strains of flu. But the study supports using the CT scan as an adjunctive tool after other tests are performed, to determine if the patient's flu is a major case.

source: MarketWire


Younger Women With Suspected Appendicitis Benefit From Preoperative CT

Preoperative computed tomography (CT) may help reduce unnecessary surgeries in women of reproductive age with suspected acute appendicitis, according to a new study appearing in the February issue of the journal Radiology.

"We found that rising utilization of preoperative CT over the past decade, along with advances in CT technology, coincided with a significant decrease in negative appendectomies among women 45 years and younger," said Courtney A. Coursey, M.D., a radiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who co-authored this study while a radiology fellow at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

source: Medical News Today


Adverse Reactions from Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents Used During MRI Rarely Occur, Study Suggests

Acute adverse reactions from gadolinium-based contrast agents used during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help improve the information seen on the images rarely occur, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Since approval of the first gadolinium-based contrast agent the use of contrast agents for MRI has been evolving. “These agents are useful in the diagnosis of several diseases and conditions and are considered generally safe in clinical practice,” said Hani H. Abujudeh, MD, lead author of the study. “However the association between the use of gadolinium-based agents and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) has sparked controversy over the years,” said Abujudeh.

NSF is a potentially lethal systemic disease that has raised the concern over the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents for imaging of patients with underlying renal impairment. “When prescribing gadolinium-based contrast agents, radiologists need to consider not only the risk of NSF but also the risk of acute adverse reactions,” he said.

The study, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, included a total of 32,659 gadolinium-based contrast injections for MRI examinations. “A total of 51 acute adverse reactions occurred in 50 patients, accounting for 0.16 percent of all administrations,” said Abujudeh. The majority of the reactions that did occur were mild including nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. However six moderate and two severe reactions did occur.

source: ARRS


Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. Launches ABLAVAR™ (Gadofosveset Trisodium), a New Diagnostic Magnetic Resonance Angiography Agent

N. BILLERICA, Mass. (January 20, 2010) – Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc., a worldwide leader in diagnostic imaging, today announced the launch of ABLAVAR™ (gadofosveset trisodium), a unique, injectable MRA imaging agent used to evaluate aortoiliac occlusive disease (AIOD) in adults with known or suspected peripheral vascular disease (PVD). ABLAVAR™ is the first and only contrast imaging agent approved in the United States for use with a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) indication to evaluate AIOD. AIOD is a type of PVD that occurs when arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the lower limbs, become narrowed or blocked. This lack of blood supply can result in pain, infection and even loss of limbs1.

In Phase 3 clinical studies, ABLAVAR™ demonstrated statistically greater sensitivity (detecting disease when present) compared with non-contrast MRA2. These studies, which supported the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ABLAVAR™, show that MRA images using ABLAVAR™ provided diagnostic accuracy comparable to conventional X-ray angiography,3,4 an invasive procedure which involves insertion of a catheter into the arteries in the upper thigh (groin area) or arm5.

“ABLAVAR™ provides distinct advantages over X-ray angiography, the current standard of care in diagnosing AIOD,” said Mark G. Hibberd, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Medical Director, Global Medical Affairs, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Inc. “ABLAVAR™ provides high resolution images comparable to conventional X-ray angiography (the current gold standard), which offers radiologists a clear, enhanced visualization of patients’ arteries. However, ABLAVAR™ is given in a single, low dose injection, does not require catheter insertion into a patient’s arteries, and does not expose patients to ionizing radiation, all of which are tangible benefits to patients.”

source: Lantheus Medical Imaging


Siemens Delivers Complete Dose Protection to St. Louis Children's Hospital

Even though CT is a crucial medical imaging tool in diagnosing illness and disease in children, there is always a concern over the amount of radiation dose a pediatric patient receives. Medical institutions, such as St. Louis Children's Hospital, strive to provide the best medical imaging exams as possible, while ensuring one of the best methods for its patients. The addition of the SOMATOM Definition AS provides the link between dose protection and imaging excellence for Children's Hospital's young patients.

"In light of recent studies on radiation dose and best practices for dose reduction, it is essential to employ a CT scanner that can not only ensure some dose reduction, but provide one of the fastest scan speeds, while still maintaining optimal imaging performance," said Dr. Marilyn J. Siegel, division of Diagnostic Radiology and professor of Radiology and Pediatrics, St. Louis Children's Hospital. "This latest addition to our CT family allows Children's Hospital to better serve our young patients with safe, effective, quality care."

In the July 2009 issue of Radiology*, a team of researchers evaluated the potential effectiveness of adaptive collimation in reducing CT radiation dose owing to z-overscanning (one of the factors responsible for radiation burden in spiral CT examinations) by using dose measurements and dose simulations.

The data revealed that by using adaptive section collimation, a substantial dose reduction of up to 10 percent was achieved for cardiac and chest CT when measurements were performed free in air and of 7 percent, on average, when measurements were performed in phantoms. For scan ranges smaller than 12 cm, ionization chamber measurements and simulations indicated a dose reduction of up to 38 percent, according to the team's findings.

source: PR Newswire


Imaging Studies Help Detect Underlying Cancers in Patients With Neurologic Symptoms

ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2010) — A combined positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan of the whole body appears to detect cancer in individuals with related neurologic complications more accurately than some other commonly used tests, according to a report posted online that will appear in the March print issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Paraneoplastic neurologic disorders occur in some people with cancer -- including lung, breast or ovarian cancer -- and may develop when cancer-fighting antibodies mistakenly attack cells in the nervous system. "In the assessment of patients with suspected paraneoplastic neurologic disorders, routine non-invasive oncologic evaluations may be unrevealing," the authors write as background information in the article. "These standard evaluations include physical examination; computed tomography (CT) of the chest, abdomen and pelvis; mammography in women; and testicular ultrasonography and prostate-specific antigen testing in men." Cancers underlying paraneoplastic neurologic disorders are typically small, restricted to one site and are often not detected until autopsy.

source: Science Daily Release


New Low Dose CT Protocols for Stone Detection may Hold Key to Reducing Cancer Risk from Radiation

Loma Linda, CA (Vocus/PRWEB ) January 8, 2010 -- Researchers from the department of radiology and urology at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) are working to reduce the radiation exposure associated with CT imaging. A study featured on the cover of December’s Journal of Urology, may hold a key to reducing the risk of cancer from CT imaging.

Loma Linda University Medical Center, LLUMC“In this paper we were able to use an experimental protocol to reduce the radiation exposure for CT imaging by 95% without decreasing the sensitivity or specificity for detection of ureteral stones,” said Dr. Forrest Jellison, a resident at LLUMC and one of the authors of the study.

Recently, evidence has mounted suggesting that the radiation associated with medical imaging may place patients at risk for malignancy and death. In an article recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was predicted that of the 72 million patients receiving a CT in the United States in 2007, approximately 29,000 would ultimately develop cancer from this radiation exposure. Half of these cancer patients could ultimately die.

“Our low dose CT study is unique in its prospective design. By using cadavers we were able to compare CT imaging at many different radiation levels in a way that would have been unethical in a patient,” said Dr. Duane Baldwin, associate professor of urology at Loma Linda University and lead author of the paper. “The lowest dose protocol reduced the radiation level by 95% without altering the detection of stones.”

source: PR Web


New Brain Scan Better Detects Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in Healthy People

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new type of brain scan, called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), appears to be better at detecting whether a person with memory loss might have brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the January 6, 2010, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“As better medicines for Alzheimer’s disease become available, it will be important to identify people at high risk for the disease as early and accurately as possible so treatment can be most effective,” said Norbert Schuff, PhD, with the University of California and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, author of an editorial about the research.

For the study, 76 healthy people in Rome aged 20 to 80 underwent DTI-MRI brain scanning, which is more sensitive than traditional MRI for detecting changes in brain chemistry, thereby mapping fiber tracts that connect brain regions. The researchers examined DTI changes in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is critical to memory and one that is involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

source: American Academy Neurology


The US Drug Watchdog Expands Its Gadolinium-Medical MRI's- Kidney Disease & NSF Initiative

Washington, DC (PRWEB) January 4, 2010 -- The US Drug Watchdog is launching a national investigation into the dye used in MRI imaging called Gadolinium, out of fear that thousands of US citizens with kidney disease, who had and MRI in the last 10 years, where this dye was used, may now have an incurable medical condition known as NSF. Because so little information is available on this very important issue the US Drug Watchdog is begging the national press to cover this very important story. The group is saying, "26 million US citizens have kidney disease. We have linked a specific type of imaging dye used in MRI's called Gadolinium, to an incurable medical condition called NSF. Our biggest fear is most Americans with kidney disease have never linked their NSF, to the fact the were injected with a dye called Gadolinium, as part of the process in getting a MRI." The US Drug Watchdog is also saying, "we also fear that many to most physicians, especially dermatologists, or internists may not have connected the dots between the use of the Gadolinium dye used in MRI's, and their patients having symptoms of this horrible medical condition called NSF." Victims of NSF, who had a MRI, where Gadolinium was used should call the US Drug Watchdog immediately at 866-714-6466, or contact the group via its web site at Http://USDrugWatchdog.Com

source: PR Web


Encompass Group Voluntarily Recalls Thermoflect Product Line

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 26, 2009 – McDonough, GA – Jea R. Gackowski, Encompass Group Corporate Compliance Officer announced today the company is voluntarily recalling the Thermoflect product line for relabeling regarding its use in the MR (Magnetic Resonance) environment.

"We are voluntarily recalling the product line from use in the Magnetic Resonance (MR) environment," Gackowski said. "We are requesting that the Thermoflect blankets and other products not be used in MR conditional or MR compatible environments. We are in the process of sending labels to our customers to be attached per instructions to remind the hospitals that the product line should not be used in the MR environment.

"In the past, we have stated that the Thermoflect product may be used in the MR environment. However, after being informed by the FDA, at this time we will not promote the products for use in the Magnetic Resonance Environment. However, the product is still safe and effective for use in treating hypothermia."

We have been advised by the FDA that a report has been filed of an injury to an (MRI) patient. Several items are under consideration, including all of the blankets used in the MRI environment, of which Thermoflect is one. There is no evidence that the Thermoflect blanket caused the injury but as a precautionary measure we are voluntarily recalling the product line for relabeling.

source: FDA Release