Delivering value
Lisa Fratt, Editor
The onus on imaging in general and advanced visualization specifically is to demonstrate value to the patient and the physician.

In the simplest terms, this means improved diagnostic accuracy, which can reduce uncertainty and minimize or eliminate downstream testing, or increasing efficiency, which is generally safer for the patient and optimizes the physician’s time. This month’s portal exclusives demonstrate the power of advanced visualization to achieve both goals.

A study published in the September issue of Radiology showed interventional radiologists could leverage fused PET/CT and ultrasound datasets and pair them with electromagnetic tracking to guide challenging biopsies. Essentially, the multimodality dataset provides interventionalists with a roadmap for these procedures.

The study’s lead author, Aradhana M. Venkatesan, MD, of the center for interventional oncology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., noted that the biopsies were complex and may not have been feasible without the guidance of the fused image sets.

The results were clinically significant for many patients. Procedures were diagnostic in 31 of the 36 biopsies, and physicians were able to utilize the data to initiate treatment in 11 of the 14 patients diagnosed with malignancies.

This model may be the wave of the future. Venkatesan and colleagues explained, “With an increasing trend toward minimally invasive body interventions, the role of advanced, integrated navigation platforms is expected to gain importance, particularly for the inconspicuous or technically challenging biopsy target.”

Also in the September issue of Radiology, a group of researchers underscored the value of quantitative MRI and utilized an MR renography-based model to differentiate various causes of kidney dysfunction among transplant patients.

Existing methods for diagnosing parenchymal causes of renal transplant dysfunction are invasive and can be inadequate. Moreover, treatments for the conditions vary dramatically. Thus, a more accurate, noninvasive method is desirable.

In the study, Akira Yamamoto, MD, PhD, department of radiology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues, applied the model to 60 renal transplant patients.

They used scores to predict which patients suffered from acute rejection versus acute tubular necrosis. The work is early, but it could prove quite valuable. That is, it may allow patients to avoid an invasive biopsy while providing an accurate diagnosis and thus, inform the treatment plan.

How is your organization utilizing advanced visualization to deliver value to patients and providers? Please share your success stories (and pain points) with us.

Lisa Fratt, editor