Quantitative imaging makes a splash

Although the theme of RSNA 2012 is patients first, certain other trends appear poised for a breakout conference. Quantitative imaging is high on the list of rising stars.

More than one dozen courses are dedicated to the concept, and it will be featured in multiple other poster presentations.

It’s an emerging trend, one we at Health Imaging highlighted in June when the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) debuted its Quantitative Imaging learning track.

Proponents of quantitative imaging point to an impressive list of potential applications of quantitative imaging data. These include carotid artery stenosis, calcium scoring, coronary artery stenosis, lung nodule volumetry, liver and tumor volumetry, brain perfusion, CT colonoscopy and emphysema quantification, according to Luciano M.S. Prevedello, MD, of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, who discussed the concept at SIIM 2012.

However, other experts remain somewhat skeptical about whether or not quantitative imaging is ready for prime time and if data are consistent and credible. These are valid points that require clinical evaluation.

In the meantime, studies hinting at the power of quantitative imaging are proceeding.

Consider prostate cancer imaging. Differentiating low- and high-grade regions and determining the aggressiveness of the disease remains challenging. A diffusional kurtosis model may fill the gap, according to a study published May 1 in Radiology.

In another study, automated quantitative MR analysis matched, and in some cases, outperformed expert visual interpretation of hippocampal atrophy in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, researchers reported in a study published in the August issue of Radiology.

It seems certain that radiology is just beginning to scratch the surface of quantitative imaging. However, many practicing radiologists may be unfamiliar with the concept and its potential. RSNA 2012 provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about quantitative imaging.

Consider attending one or more the sessions below. If you can’t make the conference, our team will be at McCormick Place and posting live online coverage from Nov. 25-30. The wrap-up will continue in our daily newsletter through December and in the January/February issue of Health Imaging magazine.    

Similarly, Health Imaging strives to provide comprehensive and essential clinical and practical information through daily newsletters, monthly topical portals and our bi-monthly print magazine.

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Lisa Fratt, editor