CT: Radiologys powerhorse

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Lisa Fratt, Editor

CT proves its might and muscle (once again) at the 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the RSNA, Nov. 27 to Dec 2 in Chicago. The CT imaging RSNA preview is Health Imaging’s last preview prior to the meeting. Read on for must-see sessions and to brush up on CT news from the last several months. Be sure to subscribe to our monthly CT portal to stay on top of the latest clinical, economic and practice news as it relates to CT. Finally, check in at healthimaging.com daily beginning Nov. 27 for live coverage from Chicago.

One of the most significant announcements of the last year, indeed the last decade, was the release of preliminary data from the National Lung Screening Trial, which showed a 20 percent mortality reduction associated with CT screening of high-risk individuals.

Although researchers suggested Aug. 4 in New England Journal of Medicine that screening CT is not ready for primetime, an array of centers have started offering CT screening for lung cancer. Read National Lung Screening Trial: A Giant Leap for Lung Cancer Screening—At Baby-step Pace,” in the November issue of Health Imaging for an insider’s analysis of CT screening pioneers.

Although the radiation dose tempest tamed a tad in 2011, radiation exposure remains a top-of-mind concern. In the last year, we’ve come to realize that there is no single solution to mitigating exposure. It requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses technical and human factors as evidenced by several success stories detailed in Health Imaging.

Skeptics continue to put CT colonography to the test. While reimbursement remains out of reach, data continue to demonstrate the value of the tool. A study recently published in The Lancet showed increased compliance with colon cancer screening among patients offered CT colonography compared with traditional colonoscopy.

Finally, radiologists and cardiologists alike recognize that coronary CT angiography (CCTA) packs a powerful punch. What have we learned in 2011?

  • A meta-analysis published June 14 in Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrated that the presence and extent of CTA-detected coronary artery disease are strong, independent predictors of future cardiovascular events.
  • Earlier in the year, a model published in the American Journal of Roentgenology indicated that CCTA-based triage of low-risk patients with acute chest pain in the emergency department (ED) might reduce invasive catheterizations, could improve survival and may save money.
  • Most recently, a study published in the December issue of Academic Radiology demonstrated that 64-slice CTA delivered a negative predictive value of more than 99 percent in excluding major adverse cardiac events for 30 days in patients who present with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) symptoms.

Please let us know how your organization is refining its CT operations to deliver high-quality, safe patient care and what your plans for 2012 are.

See you in Chicago.

Lisa Fratt, editor