Toshiba MR Technology Shortens Brain Imaging Time

TUSTIN, Calif., March 22, 2010 – When imaging the brain, time is critical as vascular abnormalities can have a profound effect on patients’ lives if not diagnosed quickly. To help health care facilities diagnose disease with greater accuracy and speed, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has introduced Variable True Rate Angiography with Combined Encodings (V-TRACE), an exclusive MRA sequence available on all Vantage TitanTM and Vantage Atlas® MR systems. V-TRACE streamlines MRA brain imaging by acquiring four image contrasts in one sequence, providing an imaging application for visualizing slow and fast flow vessels separately and together, as well as the brain tissue surrounding the vessels.

“The ability of Toshiba’s V-TRACE MRA sequence to image four contrasts in one sequence allows for greater visualization of blood vessels in the brain, particularly collateral vessels that can be difficult to see with standard MRA sequences,” said Doug Ryan, vice president, Marketing and Strategic Development, Toshiba. “This new sequence allows hospitals to improve workflow and patient care by saving time during MRA imaging.”

V-TRACE MRA is a dual-echo 3D FE sequence in which the first echo is acquired using Time-Of-Flight (TOF) and the second echo is acquired using Flow Sensitive Black Blood (FSBB). The sequence combines the advantages of both techniques to produce MRA images that depict blood vessels with both high and low velocity. The sequence design reduces the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which is a measurement of heat generated to the body during a MRI.

source: Toshiba Medical


Virtual Colonoscopy Allows Detection of Unsuspected Cancers Beyond Colon

ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2010) — A new, large-scale study of more than 10,000 adults found that more than one in every 200 asymptomatic people screened with CT colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, had clinically unsuspected malignant cancer and more than half of the cancers were located outside the colon. The findings were published in the April issue of the journal Radiology.

"We are finding that virtual colonoscopy screening actually identifies more unsuspected cancers outside of the colon than within it," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., professor of radiology and chief of GI Imaging, at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health. "As with asymptomatic colorectal cancers identified by virtual colonoscopy screening, these cancers are often detected at an early, curable stage."

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and the National Cancer Institute estimated that there would be 146,970 new cases diagnosed in 2009 and 49,920 deaths.

source: Science Daily Release


Unusual prenatal MRI detects rare, oft-missed genetic disease

(Media-Newswire.com) - In a case believed to be a United States first, the radiology team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has used prenatal magnetic resonance imaging to detect an often-misdiagnosed genetic disease.

The disorder, congenital chloride diarrhea, can cause severe dehydration and serious metabolic disturbances in newborns if not treated quickly.

“This is a disease where early diagnosis is the key to a good outcome,” said Richard Barth, MD, the physician who recognized the unusual case. Congenital chloride diarrhea is so rare, with only about 250 total cases reported worldwide, that infants with the disease are often erroneously treated for other diarrhea-causing ailments. “If the patient’s fortunate, you could stumble onto this diagnosis,” said Barth, the chief radiologist at Packard Children’s and a professor of pediatric radiology at the School of Medicine. The case was the first instance of CCD Barth had ever seen.

It is one of only four known cases of CCD diagnosis ever made via prenatal MRI. A scientific report on the four cases, including Barth’s case and three from France, was published online Dec. 9 in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The report is a collaboration between Barth and a team of French scientists in Marseilles.

source: Media Newswire


Dual-Energy CT Accurately Diagnoses Gout in Acute, Emergency Settings

A medical imaging technique called dual-energy computed tomography (CT) is an effective and reliable way to diagnose gout in the acute, emergency setting, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). Dual-energy CT is an advanced medical imaging technique that can detect vessels and bones and display them in clear contrast to one another. It enables physicians to diagnose many patients’ conditions faster and more accurately as it can better characterize tissue composition better than conventional CT.

Gout is an extremely painful kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in and around the joints. “Doctors often use clinical features to diagnose gout, however many other diseases can mimic or coexist with it and conventional imaging techniques like X-rays, ultrasound, and conventional CT are not specific enough to facilitate a diagnosis,” said Savvakis Nicolaou, MD, lead author of the study.

The study, performed at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, BC, included five cases in which the diagnosis for gout was made or excluded on the basis of dual-energy CT. “In every case, conventional imaging techniques were used before applying advanced dual-energy CT technology, however we were not able to make a diagnosis based solely upon those findings,” said Nicolaou.

“To our knowledge, dual-energy CT is the only imaging method described to date that can confirm the diagnosis of topheceaous (or chronic) gout with high accuracy,” he said.

source: ARRS


Medtronic Receives FDA Panel's Unanimous Recommendation for Approval of Revo MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) Pacing System

MINNEAPOLIS – March 19, 2010 – Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee has voted unanimously in favor of approval with conditions of the Revo MRI™ SureScan™ pacing system designed as MR Conditional, or safe for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems under specified conditions. MRI procedures are not recommended in the United States for patients who currently have implanted pacemakers; if approved, Revo MRI has the potential to be the first FDA-approved pacing system designed for use in the MRI setting.

The FDA’s Circulatory System Devices Panel, which met today, recommended Revo MRI for approval with conditions related to the planned post-market study, health care professional training, and labeling to reflect MRI scans are to be conducted with the full Revo MRI SureScan Pacing System. The FDA will consider the panel’s recommendation in its review of Revo MRI; however, it is not bound by its Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

“MRI is critical in the diagnosis of many serious conditions; however, patients with current pacemakers most often do not have access to this vital technology,” said Pat Mackin, president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business and senior vice president at Medtronic. “The result of today’s panel brings Medtronic one step closer to helping address an important unmet patient need. We look forward to working with the FDA during the regulatory process so that we may provide certain pacemaker patients with access to MRI scans.”

source: Medtronic


Early Identification of Alzheimer's Disease With PET Scan

LOS ANGELES, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Westside Medical Associates of Los Angeles and Westside Medical Imaging (WMI) of Beverly Hills announce the benefit of early positron emission tomography (PET) scanning to identify Alzheimer's in its early more treatable phase. According to Dr. Norman Lepor, Professor of Medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Co-director of Imaging at WMI, "the research investigators at the New York University Langone Medical Center have confirmed our long held belief that we can use advanced imaging for early identification of Alzheimer's disease in patients that have not yet developed symptoms." According to Dr. Lisa Moscone of the NYU Langone Medical Center, "treating at this early stage would have the best chance of success." According to Dr. Hooman Madyoon, Co-director of Imaging at WMI, "nearly 5 million Americans suffer from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's with the number of Americans expected to be afflicted increasing to epidemic levels as the population ages."

According to Dr. Elliot Kolin, lead radiologist at WMI, "the NYU research team used PET with a fluorescent imaging agent called Pittsburgh Compound B that lights up clumps of a protein called beta amyloid that is a characteristic finding of Alzheimer's disease." According to Dr. Moscone not all patients with beta amyloid plaques in their brain develop Alzheimer's, the appearance of these plaques do increase the risk.

source: PR Newswire


Frost & Sullivan Lauds Positron Corporation For Cardiac-Focused PET Molecular Imaging Scanner Attrius™

Based on its recent analysis of the cardiac molecular imaging systems market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Positron Corporation with the 2010 North American Award for New Product Innovation, for its pioneering cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, Attrius™. The Attrius™ was developed and optimized for molecular imaging of the heart, making it the ideal solution for cardiologists and hospitals looking to add high accuracy, cost effective imaging technology.

The nuclear cardiology imaging scene has been dominated by single photon emission tomography (SPECT) until recently when the imaging world was flipped upside down by the announcement of SPECT reimbursement cuts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), combined with the world shortage of the molybdenum-99 isotope. Many in the industry are looking for new technologies to improve their diagnostic accuracy, improve patient outcomes, reduce patient radiation exposure all while adding to their bottom line. The elusive solution to this dire situation may lie in an already well established, underutilized imaging modality: PET.

source: Medical News Today


MRI Detects Contralateral Breast Tumours Missed by Conventional Screening Methods

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- March 9, 2010 -- Scanning for contralateral breast cancer using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) increases cancer detection rates among postmenopausal women, including those over 70 years old, with newly diagnosed breast cancer. The same findings were not confirmed in premenopausal women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, found that 3.8% of 425 women had breast cancer in the undiagnosed breast that had not been detected with a clinical or mammographic examination; all were postmenopausal. In these women, detecting and treating cancer in both breasts at the same time may save costs, patient stress, and the potential toxicity that may come from having to treat cancer later in the second breast once it is discovered, the researchers say in the March/April issue of The Breast Journal.

Of particular interest to the researchers is their finding that patients aged >= 70 years had a higher prevalence of cancer in the second breast detected by MRI than did younger patients in the study. MRI detected a cancer in the second breast in 5.4% of 129 elderly women included in the study.

source: Doctors Guide


Study: CT cost-effectively screens for lung disease in non-smoking women

Performing a high-resolution CT on non-smoking women age 24 to 53 with a collapsed lung can be a cost-effective screening for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), according to a study published online Feb. 18 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

LAM, a rare lung disease, occurs when cells begin to grow and spread to the lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes and vessels. "Women with LAM who first experience spontaneous lung collapse will, on average, experience two more,” according to Brent Kinder, MD, the study's senior investigator.

Kinder and colleagues of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio evaluated the cost-effectiveness of screening patients for LAM by evaluating the rates of spontaneous pneumothorax and the prevalence of LAM in relation to age, gender and smoking status. The researchers used 2007 Medicare data.

According to the authors, the prevalence of LAM in non-smoking women between the ages of 25-54 with spontaneous pneumothorax is estimated
at 5 percent, based on available literature.

source: HealthImaging


Ownership/Leasing Of PET Scanners By Nonradiologists On The Rise

Just as with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the growth rate among non-radiologists who own or lease positron emission tomography (PET) equipment is also on the rise, contributing significantly to the ongoing issues surrounding self-referral and unnecessary utilization of imaging in the United States, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. PET is a relatively new technology that produces three-dimensional images of functional processes in the body. It is often used to diagnose certain types of cancer and heart disease.

"One of the well-known factors contributing to rising imaging costs is self-referral among non-radiologist physicians which has been shown to result in unnecessary utilization of imaging," said Rajan Agarwal, MD, MBA, lead author of the study. "This has made imaging one focus of concern as policymakers and third party payers look to cut health care costs," said Agarwal.

source: Medcal News Today


Toshiba's Contrast-Free MRA Techniques Improve Patient Safety At Little Company Of Mary

TUSTIN, Calif., Feb. 25, 2010 – In response to concern over gadolinium-based contrast agents, Little Company of Mary, a not-for-profit Catholic community hospital in Evergreen Park, Ill., wanted to provide the highest quality and safest MRA procedures to its patients. To accomplish this, the facility installed Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.’s Vantage Atlas® MR system and utilized the full suite of proprietary contrast-free MRA techniques. These contrast-free techniques proved so beneficial that Little Company of Mary now completes 98 percent of its MRA exams without contrast.

“Eliminating the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents, particularly for patients with renal impairment, is greatly improving patient safety for those undergoing MRA exams at Little Company of Mary,” said Kate Erickson, supervisor of CT and MRI, Little Company of Mary. “The image quality produced using the contrast-free techniques is equal to or better than typical contrast-enhanced MRA exams.”

Erickson also added that Toshiba’s techniques are improving hospital efficiency. For example, by not using contrast the team has reduced the need for rescans that sometimes occurs when a bolus is missed, and they also do not need to run pre-exam lab tests on patients to evaluate renal function.

source: Toshiba Medical