Week in Review: Cut the gadolinium for some MRI scans | Docs mum on CT lung screening | Benefits of mammo AI

Dear AuntMinnie Member,

It may be OK to cut out gadolinium contrast for some follow-up MRI scans to monitor patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a research study that was the subject of our most-read article for the past week.

Gadolinium exposure has become a major patient safety issue in radiology, and researchers have been seeking ways to perform MRI scans without using the contrast material. German researchers found that gadolinium contrast wasn't necessary when performing 3-tesla MRI studies to detect new or enlarged lesions in MS patients.

The study is important because MS patients frequently receive many MRI studies as part of the management of their disease. The protocol that the group developed could reduce patient exposure to gadolinium deposition.

In another article in our MRI Community, researchers from France discussed their development of an MRI technique called R2* mapping to detect iron concentrations in the substantia nigra region of the brain. The findings could impact our understanding of how stroke affects the brain.

Docs mum on CT lung screening

One of the conditions set down by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services when it approved Medicare payments for CT lung cancer screening in 2014 was that prospective recipients undergo a session of shared decision-making with their general physicians before they were referred for an exam. A new study is pointing out why that may have been a bad idea.

Compliance rates with CT lung screening among eligible individuals -- mostly high-risk current and former smokers -- are mired in the low single digits. Despite the fact that Medicare payments are available for the scans, the people who need them the most simply aren't getting them.

Why? The new study indicates that many general physicians simply aren't talking about CT lung screening with their patients. In fact, doctors talked about the scans with less than 20% of eligible patients. The findings indicate that it could be time to take a more critical look at shared decision-making and whether it's hindering access to a life-saving medical service.

In other CT news, a group from the University of Pittsburgh developed a risk model that could enable clinicians to home in even more precisely on which individuals are most suited for CT lung screening. And researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that risk of a cardiac event rises with coronary artery calcium score -- even past the threshold of 1,000 Agatston units.

Get these stories and more in our CT Community.

Benefits of mammo AI

Finally, a trove of research on artificial intelligence (AI) came out of the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) earlier this month. A number of studies addressed the benefits of AI for mammography, such as this study that found that using AI to analyze breast screening exams could lessen the load for busy screening practices. Another found that an AI algorithm helped determine which patients with pure atypical ductal hyperplasia may safely be monitored with imaging rather than be sent on to surgical excision.

More news about women's imaging can be found in our Women's Imaging Community.

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