Dramatic rise in MRI and CT use in ERs raises questions

A dramatic increase in the use of medical imaging in emergency departments when seeing patients with injuries hasn’t paid off with an equal rise in diagnosing life-threatening conditions or follow-up hospital admissions, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers concludes in a study published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research group, led by Frederick Kofi Korley, an emergency physician and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reviewed emergency department data collected nationally over a 10-year period, 1998 to 2007. The Johns Hopkins team found that patients with injury-related conditions were three times more likely to get a computerized tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan in 2007 than they were in 1998.

During the same 10-year period, the Johns Hopkins team found that diagnosis of life-threatening conditions, such as a cervical spine fracture or liver laceration, rose only slightly. There was virtually no change in the proportion of hospital admissions for patients seen in emergency departments for injury-related conditions in the same time span.

source: Johns Hopkins University


PETNET Solutions Announces Imaging Biomarker Production Capabilities in Madrid

Knoxville, Tenn., October 11, 2010 – As part of its global expansion, Siemens PETNET Solutions, Spain Operations announced today the opening of its newest imaging biomarker production facility in Madrid, Spain.

Since receiving its GMP license in May 2010 and its market authorization in July 2010 to produce and distribute FDG in Spain, the facility has been preparing to open. Siemens has installed two Eclipse cyclotrons at the site. PETNET Solutions’ recent and significant investments to build radiopharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution capabilities in areas such as Madrid support its own global growth strategy as well as the global adoption of PET/CT imaging.

“The opening of the Madrid facility reaffirms our commitment to international growth,” says Ian Turner, chief executive officer of PETNET Solutions, Inc. “Supporting the worldwide adoption of PET/CT imaging with radiopharmaceutical manufacture and distribution is key to making the power of molecular imaging and personalized medicine accessible globally.”

PETNET Solutions operates the largest network of PET radiopharmaceutical production facilities with 55 production and distribution centers worldwide.

source: Siemens Medical


Doctors Urged to Minimize CT Scans in Children

A CT scan can mean the difference between an accurate and a wrong diagnosis, timely and delayed treatment and, in some cases, life and death. But because CT scans and other tests that use X-ray technology expose the body to often large doses of radiation, their unnecessary, repeated and excessive use may increase cancer risk, especially in children.

Radiologists from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere are sounding the alarm and urging judicious use of radiation-based imaging in children. Some 7 million CT scans are performed in children every year in the United States, many of them avoidable, the doctors say.

“CT scans save lives and have revolutionized medical diagnostics, but as physicians, we should remind ourselves that every CT scan we order now stays with a child for a lifetime,” said pediatric radiologist Melissa Spevak, M.D., during a recent presentation at Hopkins, the first of several she is giving to help educate fellow physicians, nurses and radiology technicians about ways to reduce radiation exposure in children. Her efforts are inspired by the “Image Gently” campaign of the Society for Pediatric Radiology and the Alliance for Safety in Pediatric Imaging.

Not only are children’s growing tissues and rapidly dividing cells more vulnerable to the effects of radiation, but exposure to radiation at an earlier age gives cancerous mutations that much more time to develop into full-blown disease, Spevak says. And because of the difference in body size, a single CT scan can deliver a much higher dose of radiation to a child than to an adult.

source: Johns Hopkins Cgildrens Center