Nation’s CT Manufacturers Unveil New Industry-Wide Medical Radiation Patient Safety Features

Newswise — As part of its ongoing commitment to ensuring safe, appropriate and effective medical imaging and radiation therapy, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) announced today a new industry-wide commitment to more expansively address patient safety in medical imaging by including new radiation dose safeguards.

A new radiation dose check feature will provide an alert to CT machine operators when recommended radiation dose levels – as determined by hospitals and imaging centers – will be exceeded. The alert is designed to provide a clear indication to health care providers when radiation dose adjustments made for a patient’s exam would result in delivering a dose higher than the facility’s pre-determined dose threshold for routine use. Known as a “reference dose,” this dose threshold level at which the new alert will appear will be set by clinicians. MITA and its member companies stand ready to work with professional organizations, regulatory bodies, and individual clinicians on implementing this feature and to assist in establishing these diagnostic reference dose values.

Moreover, manufacturers said today they are also committed to including an additional safeguard that will allow hospitals and imaging facilities to set maximum radiation dose limits that would prevent CT scanning at higher, potentially dangerous radiation levels.

source: Newswise


MRI: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Tool for Diagnosing Testicular Cancer

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2010) — Researchers have found that non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a good diagnostic tool for the evaluation and staging of testicular cancer and may improve patient care by sparing some men unnecessary surgery, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

"Medical imaging plays an important role in the investigation of testicular masses," said Athina C. Tsili, MD, lead author of the study. "Sonography, although the primary imaging technique for the evaluation of scrotal contents, does not always allow confident characterization of the nature of a testicular mass. The purpose of our study was to assess the role of MRI in the preoperative characterization and local staging of testicular masses," said Tsili.

Prior surgery and histological examination revealed 28 malignant and 8 benign lesions in 33 patients. "Of those 36 lesions, MRI correctly identified all 28 malignant lesions and 7/8 benign lesions," she said.

source: Science Daily Release


Contrast-Enhanced MRI Could Play a Key Role in Differentiating Between Common Types of Arthritis

Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may help physicians differentiate between rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis in the hand and wrist enabling more targeted therapies unique to each condition, according to a study in the March issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Contrast-enhanced MRI uses contrast media to improve the visibility of internal bodily structures.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. Psoriatic arthritis is associated with psoriasis of the skin and is usually confined to the knees, ankles, and joints in the feet. “Clinically, it may be difficult to distinguish psoriatic arthritis from rheumatoid arthritis because the symptoms of both diseases are similar and the diagnostic tests currently available to aid in the differentiation of psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis are not always sufficient,” said Nina F. Schwenzer, MD, lead author of the study.

The study, performed at the University Hospital of Tubingen in Tubingen, Germany, included 45 patients (31 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 14 with psoriatic arthritis) who were imaged using contrast-enhanced MRI. “The perfusion (or uptake) of contrast media in psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is presumed to be different,” said Schwenzer. Typically, one will not be able to see a difference until after 15 minutes after the contrast material is given. “Our study revealed a significant difference in perfusion between those patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis after 15 minutes.

source: ARRS


FDA Unveils Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure from Medical Imaging

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced an initiative to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure from three types of medical imaging procedures: computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopy. These procedures are the greatest contributors to total radiation exposure within the U.S. population and use much higher radiation doses than other radiographic procedures, such as standard X-rays, dental X-rays, and mammography.

CT, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopic imaging have led to early diagnosis of disease, improved treatment planning, and image-guided therapies that help save lives every day. The FDA continues to support a strong dialogue between patients and physicians over the medical necessity and risk associated with these types of imaging studies.

However, like all medical procedures, CT, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopy pose risks. These types of imaging exams expose patients to ionizing radiation, a type of radiation that can increase a person’s lifetime cancer risk. Accidental exposure to very high amounts of radiation also can cause injuries, such as skin burns, hair loss and cataracts. Health care decisions made by patients and their physicians should include discussions of the medical need and associated risks for each procedure.

“The amount of radiation Americans are exposed to from medical imaging has dramatically increased over the past 20 years,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The goal of FDA’s initiative is to support the benefits associated with medical imaging while minimizing the risks.”

source: FDA New Release.