By Wayne Forrest, contributing writer
November 7, 2013

MRI may be considered mature, but the modality is as relevant as ever as a more than viable alternative in the campaign to reduce radiation exposure to patients, and in its collaboration with PET to provide greater insights into neurology, cardiology, and oncology.

In fact, one way to learn more about PET/MRI and its potential is to attend the special course on Thursday, December 5 (SPSH50, 7:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m., Room E350). Dr. Ciprian Catana, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital joins Dr. Kathryn Fowler from the Washington University School of Medicine, and Martin Judenhofer, PhD, from the University of California, Davis to illustrate advanced body imaging applications for the hybrid modality and discuss the challenges of integrating PET/MRI into clinical workflow.

Needless to say, many imaging facilities are still learning about PET/MRI. On Tuesday, December 3, Bruce Hammer, PhD, from the University of Minnesota Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, participates in a special course on cardiac PET/MRI (RC403D, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Room N228). Hammer will detail the resolution capabilities of MRI and PET as standalone and hybrid scanners.

During that same session, Dr. Pamela Woodard from the Washington University School of Medicine will take PET/MRI a step further to look at its application in cardiology and the workflow implications of a cardiac PET/MRI myocardial perfusion exam.

MRI safety

MRI safety is a daily concern at all radiology departments and imaging facilities. On Tuesday, December 3, there are two sessions to help radiologists and other staff take charge in developing ways to improve conditions in the MRI environment and avoid unnecessary adverse events.

Quality Improvements: Safety at Work (MSQI31, 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., Room S406B) leads with Dr. Lane Donnelly, chief medical officer at Nemours Children's Hospital, discussing how a daily management system can identify safety issues and help staff implement solutions to improve patient safety.

Dr. Olga Brook from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center follows with the safety risks MRI staff face in the work environment, and how implementing certain strategies can mitigate and prevent avoidable accidents. Dr. Ronald Eisenberg, also from Beth Israel Deaconess, ends the session by discussing risk management so radiologists can better protect patients, imaging department staff, and themselves.

MRI safety advice continues later in the day on Tuesday, when three MRI safety aficionados host a refresher course on the topic (RC429, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., Room E353C). Frank Shellock, PhD, from the University of Southern California begins the session with information on implants and devices, and how best to manage patients with implanted devices, such as pacemakers.

William Faulkner, an MRI consultant with William Faulkner & Associates, takes an MRI technologist's perspective on how to properly screen patients for MRI procedures. The session concludes with Dr. Patrick Colletti from USC Radiology Associates, who will cover reprogramming for patients with MR-conditional pacemakers and optimizing third-party coverage for these MRI services.

If you would like to learn more about the quality of MRI contrast agents and how to use them safely, schedule some time on Wednesday, December 3, to attend a special course hosted by Dr. Thomas Grist from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Jeffrey Weinreb from the Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Martin Prince, PhD, from Cornell and Columbia Universities (SPSC40, 7:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m., Room E350). The trio will discuss gadolinium-based contrast agents in patients with renal failure, the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), and the risks and benefits of using nongadolinium-based contrast agents.

Your preview of some of the more novel and noteworthy scientific presentations on the MRI schedule for this year's annual meeting of RSNA starts below. You can also click here to view the entire meeting program for RSNA 2013.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
MRI sequences aid cancer detection in sarcoma patients
Sunday, December 1 | 11:05 a.m.-11:15 a.m. | SSA14-03 | Room E451B
Adding functional MRI sequences to a routine scanning protocol increases specificity and could reduce unnecessary biopsies and anxiety for sarcoma patients, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.
Endoscopy with MRI accurately assesses rectal cancer after chemoradiation
Sunday, December 1 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA07-07 | Room E450A
Dutch researchers have achieved high accuracy by combining endoscopy, T2-weighted MRI, and diffusion-weighted MRI to assess response to chemoradiation in rectal cancer patients.
DCE-MRI appears accurate for soft-tissue tumor biopsy
Sunday, December 1 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA14-07 | Room E451B
A preliminary study by Austrian researchers indicates that soft-tissue tumor biopsy can be performed accurately and safely using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) 3-tesla MRI.
DWI-MRI is key for rectal cancer patient follow-up
Sunday, December 1 | 11:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. | SSA07-08 | Room E450A
Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) can be useful for following up patients after primary rectal cancer surgery or nonsurgical treatment, and it can help detect locally recurrent disease.
DWI, PET/CT help in rectal cancer detection and assessment
Sunday, December 1 | 12:05 p.m.-12:15 p.m. | SSA07-09 | Room E450A
Italian researchers have found that diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) offers higher specificity than PET/CT in rectal cancer patients, especially in cases of active inflammatory tissue, but PET/CT has a higher sensitivity and can detect distant metastasis.
7-tesla MRI matches 3-tesla for breast imaging
Monday, December 2 | 8:50 a.m.-9:00 a.m. | VSBR21-02 | Arie Crown Theater
7-tesla MRI matches or surpasses 3-tesla imaging in terms of quality and uniformity in breast imaging, according to researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center.
Abridged breast MRI protocol finds cancer just fine
Monday, December 2 | 9:30 a.m.-9:40 a.m. | VSBR21-06 | Arie Crown Theater
A shorter breast MRI protocol is better tolerated by patients, improves throughput, and has high sensitivity for detecting known ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive carcinoma, New York-based researchers have found.
Novel 3D MRI technique could improve brain metastases detection
Monday, December 2 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSC11-01 | Room N226
Japanese researchers have developed a new 3D MR technique that can simultaneously acquire images with and without blood vessel suppression and may help detect brain metastases.
MRI illustrates how intense exercise changes the heart
Monday, December 2 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSC02-02 | Room S502AB
German researchers used MR images to show how a relatively short period of high-intensity training in men can greatly influence left and right ventricular characteristics and function.
MRI finds elevated thalamic iron levels in mild brain trauma
Monday, December 2 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSC12-06 | Room N229
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have found a connection between levels of thalamic iron and microstructural changes in the brain's frontal white matter in patients with mild traumatic brain injury.
MRI can uncover cortical venous injury in abusive head trauma
Monday, December 2 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSE21-03 | Room S102AB
With the help of MR venography and MRI, researchers from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children hope to increase awareness and improve the detection of abusive head trauma and intracranial venous injury.
MRI improves early diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis complex
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSJ19-01 | Room N228
In this scientific presentation, researchers will discuss how fetal MRI can detect cerebral lesions in fetuses with tuberous sclerosis complex and should become a component of early diagnostic workup in suspected cases.
MR arthrograms provide useful data for labral tear surgery
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSJ16-03 | Room E451A
Pre- and post-MR arthrograms of the shoulder are useful in identifying unstable labral tears and provide valuable information for presurgical planning, according to a study to be presented in this afternoon RSNA 2013 session.
Whole-body MRI falls short in axial spondyloarthritis cases
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ17-06 | Room E451B
A new study by Swiss researchers questions the efficacy of whole-body MRI after the modality falsely classified approximately 25% of healthy subjects as having axial spondyloarthritis.
MRI evaluates cerebral effects of chronic mountain sickness
Tuesday, December 3 | 3:50 p.m.-4:00 p.m. | SSJ18-06 | Room N226
Using 3-tesla MRI, Chinese researchers are providing a view of how chronic mountain sickness can affect the white-matter microstructure of the brain.
MRE helps show how Alzheimer's, dementia change the brain
Wednesday, December 4 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSK16-02 | Room N230
In this scientific session, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, will discuss how to use in vivo MR elastography (MRE) to measure how Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia change mechanical properties of the brain.
FDG-PET/CT tops MRI in colon cancer staging
Wednesday, December 4 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSM17-01 | Room S505AB
While whole-body-MRI is a feasible method for staging colon cancer patients, the modality does not quite reach the accuracy of FDG-PET/CT, according to a new study by Italian researchers.
US confirmation of suspect breast MRI means aggressive cancer
Wednesday, December 4 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSM02-02 | Room E451A
When a suspicious breast MRI lesion has an ultrasound correlate, it is more likely to be an aggressive cancer, according to a study to be presented during this Wednesday afternoon session.
MRA may link intraplaque hemorrhage to ischemic events
Thursday, December 5 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSQ15-08 | Room N229
Using MR angiography (MRA), researchers from NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center believe they have found a strong association between ischemic events and intraplaque hemorrhage.
7-tesla MRI shows potential for ultrahigh-field pelvic imaging
Friday, December 6 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SST07-01 | Room E351
Dedicated 7-tesla MRI of the female pelvis shows the feasibility and potential of in vivo, ultrahigh-field pelvic imaging, which could help clinicians more accurately diagnose pelvic parenchymatous and vasculature disease, according to a study from Germany.
MRI offers clinical picture of pelvic floor after pregnancy
Friday, December 6 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SST07-07 | Room E351
After a first pregnancy, women who had a vaginal delivery were five to six times more likely to experience measurable pelvic prolapse than women who had a cesarean delivery, in a study from Portland researchers.