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Diagnostic Imaging


Athletes suffering suspected tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are often adequately assessed with clinical diagnostic tests performed in the clinician’s office. When these are inconclusive, diagnostic arthroscopy is the gold standard—and MRI is a generally low-value option due to its time and cost burdens.

Parents may start to reconsider treatment options when it comes to the effects of anesthesia on their children thanks to new findings from Boston Children's Hospital. 

Radiology researchers at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., have shown that infrared thermal testing is better than the human touch at finding wear spots and other defects in protective lead aprons.

After getting imaged, outpatients expect to hear back on the results within one to three days. If the wait goes longer than that, they’re likely to feel worried—or perhaps perturbed—and call in for themselves within five days, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

Routine follow up CT imaging in elderly patients who have experienced head trauma may need to be implemented into standardized treatment plans at a more cost-effective rate, according to a recent article by JACR.  


Recent Headlines

MRI can’t predict progression of common adolescent hip disorder

Here’s one indication for which potential MRI overutilization could stand to be curbed: predictive imaging of patients with slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE), the most common hip disorder in adolescent boys (although girls can get it too).

Emergency docs advised to exercise caution with solo CT interpretation

Comparing CT interpretations made by emergency physicians with those from radiologists reading the same scans, researchers in Iran found an agreement rate of 68.2 percent, leading them to urge caution among emergency doctors who feel pressured to supply their own reads for critical cases in the absence of an on-call radiologist.

Ultrasound shows efficacy of carpal tunnel treatments

Patients injected with a steroidal anti-inflammatory for symptom relief of carpal tunnel syndrome are well-served by follow-up imaging with ultrasound to show whether or not the treatment is working, according to a small study published online in Skeletal Radiology.

Human + computer combination improves follow-through on radiology recommendations

Following a review of radiology reports and patient records that turned up glaring communications gaps over noncritical yet potentially serious findings, an urban academic medical center has invested in software and dedicated staff to close the gaps and cut the associated risks for harm.

Neuro MRI shows cost-effective cognitive tests best for monitoring Alzheimer’s

Older patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) marked mainly by memory loss are most accurately evaluated with intensive neuropsychological test batteries. However, if such mental decline progresses to full-on Alzheimer’s disease, the patients are better monitored with the quicker, less costly Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Ultrasound excels at surveilling larger pancreatic cysts

Transabdominal ultrasound is an excellent tool for follow-up imaging of larger cysts on or in the pancreas, although its performance falls off as surveilled known lesions decline in size, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in Abdominal Radiology.

Most incidental findings on trauma CT go uncaptured

As emergency CT has grown in use, incidental findings in trauma patients have multiplied. No surprise there, but a study conducted at a level-1 trauma center in New York City suggests that documentation of incidental findings may be seriously lacking, with obvious potential implications for follow-up care.

Ultrasound nets a qualified win in tennis-elbow contest

Pitting ultrasound against MRI at detecting and grading tears of the common extensor tendon in patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis—aka “tennis elbow”—researchers in Poland have found the former is fine at screening for high-grade tears. However, when any tear is clear on ultrasound, MRI should be considered to precisely assess the extent of the injury, they conclude.

Gastro bleeds give it up to multiphasic, multidetector CT

The source and cause of gastrointestinal bleeding can be notoriously difficult to pinpoint, but French researchers have found 64-slice multiphasic, multidetector CT up to the job. Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging published the team’s findings online June 25.

FDA clears first NICU-friendly neonatal MRI system

The FDA has cleared an MRI system for head and brain imaging in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).