OAK BROOK, IL – Though the summer is coming to an end in 2015, there is already a huge buzz for the “101st Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting” of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), which will take place later this year November 29 to December 4, 2015. The hot topic this year? Ultrasound-guided CT and MRI scans.
“Ultrasound has benefitted clinicians the past few years, why not us?” asked interventional radiologist Gina Fluoro, squinting since unfamiliar with daylight. “With ultrasound guidance, we can now perform CTs and MRIs with greater accuracy and precision than ever before.”
As radiology personnel know, there is an art to placing patients into CT or MRI scanners. Up until now, all they could do was use anatomical landmarks – head, feet, table, and the hole in the scanner – to best place a patient into a CT or MRI. In the same way lumbar punctures can fail at bedside despite a healthcare practitioner’s best use of landmarks, so too can CTs and MRIs.
“One of the great challenges we’ve faced has been getting the head in head CTs and brains in MRIs of the brain,” admitted neuroradiologist Shannon Tracer. “It’s not as simple as you think. Plus, it’s really dark down here in radiology.” When asked if she could just simply turn on the lights, Tracer glared back angrily: “Now that’s just crazy talk.”
How do US-guided CT and MRI scans work? With the use of ultrasound waves, radiology providers can accurately detect when a patient is approaching the radiology department. In real time, they provide feedback as the patient and transport team approach the scanner. From there, no fewer than seven radiologists ensure the patient enters into and not around, on top of, below, behind, or to the side of the scanner.
“Studies have shown that we can get patients into scanners with 85% accuracy now,” said US-guided CT and MRI pioneer Murray Quanta. Quanta said he came up with the idea during a tough month last year during which he had 245 unsuccessful abdominal CTs. In all those cases, the patient was placed on top of the CT scanner.
Quanta agrees that US-guided CT and MRI scans will change the landscape of radiology, but feels that the best has yet to come.
“The permutations are endless,” explained an excited Quanta on the future of radiology-guided radiology. “We’re exploring US-guided CT-guided MRI, MRI-guided US, PET-guided SPECT, fluoroscopic-guided US, we’re even looking at the CT-guided physical exam and MRI-guided ECG. With all the imaging modalities at our fingertips, healthcare practitioners might become a thing of the past.”