According to a clinical study conducted at 15 medical centers, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, CT scans are no better than the less-often-used utltrasound exams when diagnosing kidney stones. Unlike ultrasound, CT exposes patients to significant amounts of radiation. While CT is a preferred choice in the emergency room, the ultrasound is a better place to start the initial diagnostic imaging test.
A simple diagnostic algorithm for pediatric acute appendicitis decreased the use of imaging, including CT, without reducing diagnostic accuracy, according to a study presented earlier this year in Surgery online. “Given the concern for increased risk of cancer after CT, these results support use of an algorithm in children with suspected appendicitis,” wrote the authors.
A position paper published in the European Heart Journal urges reduced radiation exposure for cardiology patients. Dr. Eugenio Picano, lead author of the position paper says, “Cardiology accounts for 40% of patient radiology exposure and equals more than 50 chest X-rays per person per year.” The paper lists doses and risks of the most common cardiology examinations.
Researchers from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, Canada have found a way that may help diagnose multiple sclerosis by using an approach called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) with a MRI. The research was led by Ravi Menon, PhD, an expert in functional MRI says that the new imaging approach is in quantifying nerve changes and separating the white matter degeneration observed in MS from iron deposition. “We’ve been doing these scans on MS patients for a while, but nobody knew if it was a valid approach or not. We now know how to interpret the data,” says Menon.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland find that a noninvasive imaging technique using positron emission tomography (PET) and CT images with (18)F-sodium fluoride and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose may be able to detect coronary atherosclerotic plaques.
If the results of their continued research are confirmed, this technique has the potential to change the way coronary artery disease is treated.
A Terry Fox Research Institute led study has developed software that accurately classifies 9 out of 10 times, which spots or lesions are benign or malignant on CT lung scans.
The findings are expected to have immediate clinical impact worldwide for those at risk for or who are diagnosed with lung cancer. The results are published in the Sept 5th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
An annual low-dose CT lung cancer screen got the approval from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for adults ages 55 through 79 that have a 30-year history of smoking or who have quit in the past 15 years. Other screening modalities were not recommended. Claudia Henschke, PhD, MD, and radiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City says, “This is a huge step. This is going to save lots of lives.”
At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center children are being exposed to an average of 37 percent less radiation from CT scans due to a new form of imaging software. The software, developed and currently only used by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, mathematically determines the lowest possible radiation dose for the patent and the settings to use for CT scanners.
“Radiologists have had to rely on a trial-and-error approach to optimizing CT radiation doses. This model allows us to more accurately walk that fine line of precise dosing,” said Dr. David Larson, director at the medical center and chief architect of the software.
Larson believes the new system can have a broad-scale impact on how CT scans are performed.
Future cancers caused by CT scans done on pediatric patients could be prevented by cutting the radiation dose according to Diana Miglioretti, PhD and colleagues of the University of California Davis.
Roughly four million pediatric CT scans that are performed each year are projected to induce development of cancers during the patient’s lifetime. Reducing the highest 25% of radiation doses to the median observed doses would be expected to prevent 43% of those cancers
The estimated lifetime risks of cancer related to radiation from CT scans were greater among those ages 5 to 14, girls, and those undergoing scans of the abdomen/pelvis.
According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors can use a patient’s abdominal CT scans to also check for signs of osteoporosis. The researchers who published the findings, compared patient’s CT scans to their dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which is traditionally used to diagnose osteoporosis.
Dr. Perry Pickhardt, professor of radiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said “What we found is that there is pretty good correlation.” The finding provides doctors with a reason to use CT scans ordered for another reason, to also check for signs of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis affects over 12 million Americans over the age of 50.