Medtronic Launches Award-Winning Neuro Oncology Surgical Imaging System in the United States

MINNEAPOLIS– April 26, 2010 – Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) today announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(K) clearance and U.S. launch of the PoleStar® N30 Surgical MRI system, the latest in neuro oncology surgical solutions.

Providing real-time imaging in the operating room (OR), the PoleStar Surgical MRI provides surgeons with targeting and navigational accuracy despite the anatomy movement that may occur during a surgical procedure. With intra-operative imaging information, neurosurgeons gain more confidence to achieve maximum tumor resection, while avoiding critical areas of the brain. Use of the PoleStar system may also reduce the need for revision surgeries and the length of stay at the hospital for the patient.

“This is the next generation of intra-operative MRI providing flexibility, enhanced ergonomics and confidence in the achievement of surgical goals,” said Jim Cloar, vice president and general manager of the Navigation division, part of the Surgical Technologies business at Medtronic. “With its unique compact design, the PoleStar Surgical MRI system enables neurosurgeons to benefit from intra-operative MR imaging without the compromises inherent in other systems, such as extensive renovation of the operating room or restrictions upon the surgeons' choice of instruments.”

source: Medtronic


Researchers Successfully Lower Radiation Dose Associated With Pediatric Chest CT Scans

Adjusting the radiation dose based upon a child’s weight can significantly lower the radiation dose associated with pediatric chest computed tomography (CT) scans, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org). CT scanning combines special X-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.

The study, performed at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford School of Medicine, in Stanford, CA, included 120 children who underwent chest CT scans — 60 children weighed less than 15 kg (33 pounds) and 60 weighed between 15 and 60 kg (33 – 132 pounds). Radiologists adjusted their chest CT protocols by lowering the radiation dose according to patient weight.

“For children weighing less than 33 pounds, we were able to reduce the radiation dose by approximately 73 percent,” said Beverley Newman, MD, lead author of the study. “For children weighing between 33 and 132 pounds, we were able to reduce the radiation dose by approximately 48 percent,” said Newman.

“CT examinations are commonly performed in the pediatric population. However radiation dose related to CT has become a public health concern, and appropriate reduction of radiation dose has become an important goal in pediatric CT,” she said.

“While it is important to keep radiation doses as low as possible, it is important not to compromise the diagnostic usefulness of the scan. In our study, lowering the radiation dose did increase image noise resulting in grainy images. However the low dose examinations were still considered diagnostically acceptable,” said Newman.

source: ARRS


NIH Support For New Patented Technology For Improving Cardiac CTs

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. Better detection of hardening or clogging of arteries and other blood vessels before symptoms occur is needed. With funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), researchers from Virginia Tech and GE Global Research Center are developing novel cardiac computed tomography (CT) architectures and methods, including a newly patented approach to a long-standing challenge in local CT image reconstruction (Patent 7,697,658 "Interior Tomography and Instant Tomography by Reconstruction from Truncated Limited-angle Projection Data" issued April 13, 2010). The research team will also evaluate the performance of various cardiac CT system designs to determine the most promising designs and demonstrate their clinical feasibility and utility.

Better image quality at lower radiation dose is the immediate need being addressed by the research project led by Ge Wang, the Pritchard Professor and director of the Biomedical Imaging Division of the Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences (SBES), and Bruno De Man, a CT authority at GE Global Research Center.

source: Medical News Today


New test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema

Using CT scans to measure blood flow in the lungs of people who smoke may offer a way to identify which smokers are most at risk of emphysema before the disease damages and eventually destroys areas of the lungs, according to a University of Iowa study.

The study found that smokers who have very subtle signs of emphysema, but still have normal lung function, have very different blood flow patterns in their lungs compared to non-smokers and smokers without signs of emphysema.

This difference could be used to identify smokers at increased risk of emphysema and allow for early intervention. The findings appear this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"We have developed a new tool to detect early emphysema-related changes that occur in smokers who are susceptible to the disease," said lead study author Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., UI professor of radiology, internal medicine and biomedical engineering. "Our discovery may also help researchers understand the underlying causes of this disease and help distinguish this type of emphysema from other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This type of CT scan could even be a tool to test the effectiveness of new therapies by looking at the changes in lung blood flow."

source: University of Iowa


Association Between CT, MRI Scans And Shorter Hospital Stays, Decreased Costs

Advanced imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might shorten the length of a person's hospital stay and decrease the high costs associated with hospitalization if used early, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Inpatient costs represent 18 percent of total health care insurance premiums paid, and they continue to grow approximately 8 percent annually," said Juan Carlos Batlle, MD, MBA, lead author of the study. "The stable growth of hospital costs despite marked increases in imaging costs has led to the observation that the increased use of modern imaging has been associated with a decrease in other costs of hospitalization, such as length of stay, which our study seeks to demonstrate," said Batlle.

source: Medical News Today