CT scans might detect upper spine injuries

HOUSTON -- (July 22, 2010) -- In a study of original CT scans and records of patients who survived severe car accidents, were transferred alive to a Level 1 Trauma Center but subsequently died within 21 days of arrival, experts at Baylor College of Medicine found that 30 percent had injuries to the upper spine and surrounding area which might have been detectable by CT scans before they died. The report appears in The Spine Journal.

"Occipitocervical dissociative injuries are injuries that include any kind of severe injury that includes damage to the soft tissue connecting the vertebral segments of upper cervical spine," said Dr. Peleg Ben-Galim, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at BCM and one of the researchers involved in the study.

Cervical spine injuries are the most common injury associated with car accidents, and Ben-Galim and colleagues sought to find out how often such injuries took place in trauma patients and if doctors could have detected them before a patient died.

source: Baylor College of Medicine


Functional MRI may predict response of hepatocellular carcinoma to chemoembolization

Early knowledge of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) response to transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is crucial for determining treatment success, timing of repeat treatment, and patient prognosis. Currently, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used 1-3 mo after treatment to evaluate anatomical tumor response, based upon changes in tumor size and contrast-agent enhancement. Alternatively, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can be used as a functional imaging technique to depict thermally induced motion of water molecules. The extent of water mobility within biological tissues can be quantified by a parameter called the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC). Recently, ADC values have been shown to change within days to weeks after therapy, which is earlier than changes seen by conventional HCC anatomical size assessment. However, no studies to date have reported the intra-procedural characteristics of ADC and whether these values can predict future tumor response at the time of chemoembolization.

A research article to be published on July 7, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Professor Reed A Omary, from Department of Radiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure changes in tumor activity at the time of treatment, and compared them to tumor structural changes on conventional MRI at standard 1- and 3-mo follow-up periods.

Their results suggest that patients whose intra-procedural ADC values increase or decrease by > 15% are more likely to have a favorable anatomical tumor response 1 mo later.

source: EurekAlert


Medtronic Receives CE Mark for Ensura MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) Pacing System Approved for Use in MRI Machines as Labeled

MINNEAPOLIS, Jun 30, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Medtronic, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!mdt/quotes/nls/mdt (MDT 36.68, +0.48, +1.33%) announced today the company received CE (Conformite Europeenne) Mark for Ensura MRI(TM) SureScan(TM) pacing system. Ensura MRI is the company's new option in the second-generation pacing system, available in select European geographies, in a portfolio of devices from Medtronic designed, tested, and approved for use as labeled with MRI machines. Patients with this new SureScan pacing system will have access to full body scans, without positioning restrictions in the MRI scanner. The Ensura MRI SureScan pacing system currently is not approved for sale in the United States.

"Half of the world's pacemaker implants are from Medtronic, and physicians say the number one unmet need is MRI compatibility," said Pat Mackin, president of the Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business and senior vice president at Medtronic. "We are pleased to offer physicians a third option from the world's first portfolio of MR Conditional pacing systems with our exclusive technology for patients who may need access to the critical diagnostics available through MRI."

Approximately two million Europeans have implanted pacemakers; however, these patients are strongly discouraged from receiving MRI scans, a widely practiced diagnostic method for many common diseases and conditions, such as cancer, neurological disorders and orthopedic injuries. It is possible current pacing systems could interact with MRI machines, potentially affecting the device or patient safety.

source: Medtronic


Siemens Launches SIERRA Dose Reduction Initiative in Computed Tomography

Malvern, Pa., June 29, 2010 – In a continual commitment to patient care and radiation reduction in computed tomography (CT), Siemens Healthcare has launched SIERRA (Siemens Radiation Reduction Alliance) and has established an expert panel to advance the cause of dose reduction in CT. The new Low Dose Expert Panel includes 15 specialists in radiology, cardiology and physics, who are internationally recognized for their publications on the subject of CT dose. The panel’s objective is to generate proposals for how manufacturers may continue to develop their technology and to help users better adapt their procedures in order to bring about further dose reduction in CT. One of the most important suggestions from the first meeting of the Low Dose Expert Panel in May concerns methods to increase utilization in clinical practice of the many CT dose reduction technologies that are already available.

“Our aim as a leading innovator in the field of computed tomography is to reduce radiation exposure for all typical CT examinations below 2 mSv, which is as low as the average annual dose due to naturally occurring background radiation. We are committed to doing everything we can to help our customers reduce doses in CT without compromising the diagnostic quality of the examination in any way,” said Sami Atiya, PhD, CEO, Computed Tomography, Siemens Healthcare. “With this in mind, we want to work with experts to develop concrete proposals on dose reduction and, therefore, launched Siemens Radiation Reduction Alliance, SIERRA.”

source: Siemens Medical