The New Wave of Imaging

Enhanced Image Quality

As a result of recent advancements in image resolution and quality, physicians now have an unprecedented window into the human body that allows them to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and even predict which patients are at risk of future injury.

Examples

Doctors have long been able to accurately measure bone mineral density with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), which enables detection of thinning bones that are a hallmark of osteoporosis. Now, diffusion tensor imaging coupled with magnetic resonance spectroscopy helps to predict which patients are at greatest risk of future fractures by enabling physicians to analyze bone quality. That knowledge can tailor treatment to save lives, improve quality of life and help cut medical costs for osteoporosis, which are protected to soar to $25 billion per year in 2025.

For patients who have just survived a heart attack, the next question is: how bad is the damage? Dedicated cardiac SPECT cameras with state-of-the-art detectors and image processing offer a new alternative that may provide advantages compared with traditional SPECT systems. That’s the conclusion of a study of 48 patients in which researchers at the University of Ottawa tested the two systems in a head-to-head trial, finding that dedicated cardiac SPECT provides greater sensitivity and image resolution in less time than standard SPECT. While more testing needs to be done, these early findings open the door for cardiac SPECT to take cardiac care to the next level.

Advanced imaging has been used to monitor infant health for many years. Now, magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging captures not only the detailed image of an infant’s brain, but also detects chemical imbalances long before these changes manifest outwardly in behavior or body function. MRSI plays a significant role in diagnosing Shaken Baby Syndrome, so the physician can decide whether respiratory support or surgery to stop internal bleeding is more appropriate. This technology also helps determine the severity of brain injury in critically ill newborns with congenital heart disease (CHD) to better inform treatment.

A University of Ottawa study of 48 patients tested dedicated cardiac SPECT and standard SPECT in a head-to-head trial, finding that dedicated cardiac SPECT provides greater sensitivity and image resolution in less time than standard SPECT.

A 2013 study of postmenopausal women found diffusion tensor imaging in combination with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to be highly effective in evaluating bone quality.

A 2010 study of children with traumatic brain injury suggested that magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging performed early after injury can help determine long-term prognosis.