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1.  Adding attenuation corrected images in myocardial perfusion imaging reduces the need for a rest study 
BMC Medical Imaging  2013;13:14.
Background
The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and the Society of Nuclear Medicine conclude that incorporation of attenuation corrected (AC) images in myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) will improve diagnostic accuracy. The aim was to investigate the value of adding AC stress-only images for the decision whether a rest study is necessary or not.
Methods
1,261 patients admitted to 99mTc MPS were studied. The stress studies were interpreted by two physicians who judged each study as “no rest study necessary” or “rest study necessary”, by evaluating NC stress-only and NC + AC stress-only images. When there was disagreement between the two physicians, a third physician evaluated the studies. Thus, agreement between 2 out of 3 physicians was evaluated.
Results
The physicians assessed 214 more NC + AC images than NC images as “no rest study necessary” (17% of the study population). The number of no-rest-study-required was significantly higher for NC + AC studies compared to NC studies (859 vs 645 cases (p < 0.0001). In the final report according to clinical routine, ischemia or infarction was reported in 23 patients, assessed as “no rest study necessary” (22 NC + AC cases; 8 NC cases), (no statistically significant difference). In 11 of these, the final report stated “suspected/possible ischemia or infarction in a small area”.
Conclusions
Adding AC stress-only images to NC stress-only images reduce the number of unnecessary rest studies substantially.
doi:10.1186/1471-2342-13-14
PMCID: PMC3618204  PMID: 23547878
Tc99m MPS; Ischemic cardiac disease; Attenuation correction; Stress-only studies
2.  Investigation of the Variability in the Assessment of Digital Chest X-ray Image Quality 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2012;26(2):217-226.
A large database of digital chest radiographs was developed over a 14-month period. Ten radiographic technologists and five radiologists independently evaluated a stratified subset of images from the database for quality deficiencies and decided whether each image should be rejected. The evaluation results showed that the radiographic technologists and radiologists agreed only moderately in their assessments. When compared against each other, radiologist and technologist reader groups were found to have even less agreement than the inter-reader agreement within each group. Radiologists were found to be more accepting of limited-quality studies than technologists. Evidence from the study suggests that the technologists weighted their reject decisions more heavily on objective technical attributes, while the radiologists weighted their decisions more heavily on diagnostic interpretability relative to the image indication. A suite of reject-detection algorithms was independently run on the images in the database. The algorithms detected 4 % of postero-anterior chest exams that were accepted by the technologist who originally captured the image but which would have been rejected by the technologist peer group. When algorithm results were made available to the technologists during the study, there was no improvement in inter-reader agreement in deciding whether to reject an image. The algorithm results do, however, provide new quality information that could be captured within a site-wide, reject-tracking database and leveraged as part of a site-wide QA program.
doi:10.1007/s10278-012-9515-1
PMCID: PMC3597969  PMID: 22850934
Image quality; quality assurance; quality control; digital radiography; computed radiography; algorithms; reject analysis; repeat analysis; image defect detection
3.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability 
Executive Summary
In July 2009, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding different cardiac imaging modalities to ensure that appropriate technologies are accessed by patients undergoing viability assessment. This project came about when the Health Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care asked MAS to provide an evidentiary platform on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of noninvasive cardiac imaging modalities.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, MAS identified five key non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies that can be used for the assessment of myocardial viability: positron emission tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, dobutamine echocardiography, and dobutamine echocardiography with contrast, and single photon emission computed tomography.
A 2005 review conducted by MAS determined that positron emission tomography was more sensitivity than dobutamine echocardiography and single photon emission tomography and dominated the other imaging modalities from a cost-effective standpoint. However, there was inadequate evidence to compare positron emission tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, this report focuses on this comparison only. For both technologies, an economic analysis was also completed.
A summary decision analytic model was then developed to encapsulate the data from each of these reports (available on the OHTAC and MAS website).
The Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) for the assessment of myocardial viability. To evaluate the effectiveness of cardiac MRI viability imaging, the following outcomes were examined: the diagnostic accuracy in predicting functional recovery and the impact of cardiac MRI viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other patient outcomes).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction and Heart Failure
Heart failure is a complex syndrome characterized by the heart’s inability to maintain adequate blood circulation through the body leading to multiorgan abnormalities and, eventually, death. Patients with heart failure experience poor functional capacity, decreased quality of life, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
In 2005, more than 71,000 Canadians died from cardiovascular disease, of which, 54% were due to ischemic heart disease. Left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction due to coronary artery disease (CAD) 1 is the primary cause of heart failure accounting for more than 70% of cases. The prevalence of heart failure was estimated at one percent of the Canadian population in 1989. Since then, the increase in the older population has undoubtedly resulted in a substantial increase in cases. Heart failure is associated with a poor prognosis: one-year mortality rates were 32.9% and 31.1% for men and women, respectively in Ontario between 1996 and 1997.
Treatment Options
In general, there are three options for the treatment of heart failure: medical treatment, heart transplantation, and revascularization for those with CAD as the underlying cause. Concerning medical treatment, despite recent advances, mortality remains high among treated patients, while, heart transplantation is affected by the limited availability of donor hearts and consequently has long waiting lists. The third option, revascularization, is used to restore the flow of blood to the heart via coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or, in some cases, through minimally invasive percutaneous coronary interventions (balloon angioplasty and stenting). Both methods, however, are associated with important perioperative risks including mortality, so it is essential to properly select patients for this procedure.
Myocardial Viability
Left ventricular dysfunction may be permanent, due to the formation of myocardial scar, or it may be reversible after revascularization. Reversible LV dysfunction occurs when the myocardium is viable but dysfunctional (reduced contractility). Since only patients with dysfunctional but viable myocardium benefit from revascularization, the identification and quantification of the extent of myocardial viability is an important part of the work-up of patients with heart failure when determining the most appropriate treatment path. Various non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities can be used to assess patients in whom determination of viability is an important clinical issue, specifically:
dobutamine echocardiography (echo),
stress echo with contrast,
SPECT using either technetium or thallium,
cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI), and
positron emission tomography (PET).
Dobutamine Echocardiography
Stress echocardiography can be used to detect viable myocardium. During the infusion of low dose dobutamine (5 – 10 µg/kg/min), an improvement of contractility in hypokinetic and akentic segments is indicative of the presence of viable myocardium. Alternatively, a low-high dose dobutamine protocol can be used in which a biphasic response characterized by improved contractile function during the low-dose infusion followed by a deterioration in contractility due to stress induced ischemia during the high dose dobutamine infusion (dobutamine dose up to 40 ug/kg/min) represents viable tissue. Newer techniques including echocardiography using contrast agents, harmonic imaging, and power doppler imaging may help to improve the diagnostic accuracy of echocardiographic assessment of myocardial viability.
Stress Echocardiography with Contrast
Intravenous contrast agents, which are high molecular weight inert gas microbubbles that act like red blood cells in the vascular space, can be used during echocardiography to assess myocardial viability. These agents allow for the assessment of myocardial blood flow (perfusion) and contractile function (as described above), as well as the simultaneous assessment of perfusion to make it possible to distinguish between stunned and hibernating myocardium.
SPECT
SPECT can be performed using thallium-201 (Tl-201), a potassium analogue, or technetium-99 m labelled tracers. When Tl-201 is injected intravenously into a patient, it is taken up by the myocardial cells through regional perfusion, and Tl-201 is retained in the cell due to sodium/potassium ATPase pumps in the myocyte membrane. The stress-redistribution-reinjection protocol involves three sets of images. The first two image sets (taken immediately after stress and then three to four hours after stress) identify perfusion defects that may represent scar tissue or viable tissue that is severely hypoperfused. The third set of images is taken a few minutes after the re-injection of Tl-201 and after the second set of images is completed. These re-injection images identify viable tissue if the defects exhibit significant fill-in (> 10% increase in tracer uptake) on the re-injection images.
The other common Tl-201 viability imaging protocol, rest-redistribution, involves SPECT imaging performed at rest five minutes after Tl-201 is injected and again three to four hours later. Viable tissue is identified if the delayed images exhibit significant fill-in of defects identified in the initial scans (> 10% increase in uptake) or if defects are fixed but the tracer activity is greater than 50%.
There are two technetium-99 m tracers: sestamibi (MIBI) and tetrofosmin. The uptake and retention of these tracers is dependent on regional perfusion and the integrity of cellular membranes. Viability is assessed using one set of images at rest and is defined by segments with tracer activity greater than 50%.
Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine technique used to image tissues based on the distinct ways in which normal and abnormal tissues metabolize positron-emitting radionuclides. Radionuclides are radioactive analogs of common physiological substrates such as sugars, amino acids, and free fatty acids that are used by the body. The only licensed radionuclide used in PET imaging for viability assessment is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
During a PET scan, the radionuclides are injected into the body and as they decay, they emit positively charged particles (positrons) that travel several millimetres into tissue and collide with orbiting electrons. This collision results in annihilation where the combined mass of the positron and electron is converted into energy in the form of two 511 keV gamma rays, which are then emitted in opposite directions (180 degrees) and captured by an external array of detector elements in the PET gantry. Computer software is then used to convert the radiation emission into images. The system is set up so that it only detects coincident gamma rays that arrive at the detectors within a predefined temporal window, while single photons arriving without a pair or outside the temporal window do not active the detector. This allows for increased spatial and contrast resolution.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) is a non-invasive, x-ray free technique that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of the structure and function of the heart. Two types of cardiac MRI are used to assess myocardial viability: dobutamine stress magnetic resonance imaging (DSMR) and delayed contrast-enhanced cardiac MRI (DE-MRI). DE-MRI, the most commonly used technique in Ontario, uses gadolinium-based contrast agents to define the transmural extent of scar, which can be visualized based on the intensity of the image. Hyper-enhanced regions correspond to irreversibly damaged myocardium. As the extent of hyper-enhancement increases, the amount of scar increases, so there is a lower the likelihood of functional recovery.
Evidence-Based Analysis
Research Questions
What is the diagnostic accuracy of cardiac MRI for detecting myocardial viability?
What is the impact of cardiac MRI viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other clinical outcomes)?
How does cardiac MRI compare with cardiac PET imaging for the assessment of myocardial viability?
What is the contribution of cardiac MRI viability imaging to treatment decision making?
Is cardiac MRI cost-effective compared with other cardiac imaging modalities for the assessment of myocardial viability?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on October 9, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2005 until October 9, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. In addition, published systematic reviews and health technology assessments were reviewed for relevant studies published before 2005. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports
Published between January 1, 2005 and October 9, 2009
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and observational studies
Patients with chronic, known coronary artery disease (CAD)
Used contrast-enhanced MRI
Assessment of functional recovery ≥ 3 months after revascularization
Exclusion Criteria
< 20 patients
< 18 years of age
Patients with non-ischemic heart disease
Studies conducted exclusively in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI)
Studies where TP, TN, FP, FN cannot be determined
Outcomes of Interest
Sensitivity
Specificity
Positive predictive value (PPV)
Negative Predictive value (NPV)
Positive likelihood ratio
Negative likelihood ratio
Diagnostic accuracy
Mortality rate (for prognostic studies)
Adverse events
Summary of Findings
Based on the available very low quality evidence, MRI is a useful imaging modality for the detection of viable myocardium. The pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of regional functional recovery as a surrogate for viable myocardium are 84.5% (95% CI: 77.5% – 91.6%) and 71.0% (95% CI: 68.8% – 79.2%), respectively.
Subgroup analysis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in the sensitivity of MRI to assess myocardial viability for studies using ≤25% hyperenhancement as a viability threshold versus studies using ≤50% hyperenhancement as their viability threshold [78.7 (95% CI: 69.1% - 88.2%) and 96.2 (95% CI: 91.8 – 100.6); p=0.0044 respectively]. Marked differences in specificity were observed [73.6 (95% CI: 62.6% - 84.6%) and 47.2 (95% CI: 22.2 – 72.3); p=0.2384 respectively]; however, these findings were not statistically significant.
There were no statistically significant differences between the sensitivities or specificities for any other subgroups including mean preoperative LVEF, imaging method for function recovery assessment, and length of follow-up.
There was no evidence available to determine whether patients with viable myocardium who are revascularized have a lower mortality rate than those who are treated with medical therapy.
PMCID: PMC3426228  PMID: 23074392
4.  Performance evaluation of an automated single-channel sleep–wake detection algorithm 
Nature and Science of Sleep  2014;6:113-122.
Background
A need exists, from both a clinical and a research standpoint, for objective sleep measurement systems that are both easy to use and can accurately assess sleep and wake. This study evaluates the output of an automated sleep–wake detection algorithm (Z-ALG) used in the Zmachine (a portable, single-channel, electroencephalographic [EEG] acquisition and analysis system) against laboratory polysomnography (PSG) using a consensus of expert visual scorers.
Methods
Overnight laboratory PSG studies from 99 subjects (52 females/47 males, 18–60 years, median age 32.7 years), including both normal sleepers and those with a variety of sleep disorders, were assessed. PSG data obtained from the differential mastoids (A1–A2) were assessed by Z-ALG, which determines sleep versus wake every 30 seconds using low-frequency, intermediate-frequency, and high-frequency and time domain EEG features. PSG data were independently scored by two to four certified PSG technologists, using standard Rechtschaffen and Kales guidelines, and these score files were combined on an epoch-by-epoch basis, using a majority voting rule, to generate a single score file per subject to compare against the Z-ALG output. Both epoch-by-epoch and standard sleep indices (eg, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, latency to persistent sleep, and wake after sleep onset) were compared between the Z-ALG output and the technologist consensus score files.
Results
Overall, the sensitivity and specificity for detecting sleep using the Z-ALG as compared to the technologist consensus are 95.5% and 92.5%, respectively, across all subjects, and the positive predictive value and the negative predictive value for detecting sleep are 98.0% and 84.2%, respectively. Overall κ agreement is 0.85 (approaching the level of agreement observed among sleep technologists). These results persist when the sleep disorder subgroups are analyzed separately.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates that the Z-ALG automated sleep–wake detection algorithm, using the single A1–A2 EEG channel, has a level of accuracy that is similar to PSG technologists in the scoring of sleep and wake, thereby making it suitable for a variety of in-home monitoring applications, such as in conjunction with the Zmachine system.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S71159
PMCID: PMC4206400  PMID: 25342922
EEG; sleep–wake detection; algorithm; Zmachine; automatic sleep scoring; single channel
5.  Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability 
Executive Summary
In July 2009, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding different cardiac imaging modalities to ensure that appropriate technologies are accessed by patients undergoing viability assessment. This project came about when the Health Services Branch at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care asked MAS to provide an evidentiary platform on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, MAS identified five key non-invasive cardiac imaging technologies that can be used for the assessment of myocardial viability: positron emission tomography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, dobutamine echocardiography, and dobutamine echocardiography with contrast, and single photon emission computed tomography.
A 2005 review conducted by MAS determined that positron emission tomography was more sensitivity than dobutamine echocardiography and single photon emission tomography and dominated the other imaging modalities from a cost-effective standpoint. However, there was inadequate evidence to compare positron emission tomography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, this report focuses on this comparison only. For both technologies, an economic analysis was also completed.
The Non-Invasive Cardiac Imaging Technologies for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Positron Emission Tomography for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging for the Assessment of Myocardial Viability: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to assess the effectiveness and safety of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) for the assessment of myocardial viability. To evaluate the effectiveness of FDG PET viability imaging, the following outcomes are examined:
the diagnostic accuracy of FDG PET for predicting functional recovery;
the impact of PET viability imaging on prognosis (mortality and other patient outcomes); and
the contribution of PET viability imaging to treatment decision making and subsequent patient outcomes.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction and Heart Failure
Heart failure is a complex syndrome characterized by the heart’s inability to maintain adequate blood circulation through the body leading to multiorgan abnormalities and, eventually, death. Patients with heart failure experience poor functional capacity, decreased quality of life, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
In 2005, more than 71,000 Canadians died from cardiovascular disease, of which, 54% were due to ischemic heart disease. Left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction due to coronary artery disease (CAD)1 is the primary cause of heart failure accounting for more than 70% of cases. The prevalence of heart failure was estimated at one percent of the Canadian population in 1989. Since then, the increase in the older population has undoubtedly resulted in a substantial increase in cases. Heart failure is associated with a poor prognosis: one-year mortality rates were 32.9% and 31.1% for men and women, respectively in Ontario between 1996 and 1997.
Treatment Options
In general, there are three options for the treatment of heart failure: medical treatment, heart transplantation, and revascularization for those with CAD as the underlying cause. Concerning medical treatment, despite recent advances, mortality remains high among treated patients, while, heart transplantation is affected by the limited availability of donor hearts and consequently has long waiting lists. The third option, revascularization, is used to restore the flow of blood to the heart via coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or through minimally invasive percutaneous coronary interventions (balloon angioplasty and stenting). Both methods, however, are associated with important perioperative risks including mortality, so it is essential to properly select patients for this procedure.
Myocardial Viability
Left ventricular dysfunction may be permanent if a myocardial scar is formed, or it may be reversible after revascularization. Reversible LV dysfunction occurs when the myocardium is viable but dysfunctional (reduced contractility). Since only patients with dysfunctional but viable myocardium benefit from revascularization, the identification and quantification of the extent of myocardial viability is an important part of the work-up of patients with heart failure when determining the most appropriate treatment path. Various non-invasive cardiac imaging modalities can be used to assess patients in whom determination of viability is an important clinical issue, specifically:
dobutamine echocardiography (echo),
stress echo with contrast,
SPECT using either technetium or thallium,
cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI), and
positron emission tomography (PET).
Dobutamine Echocardiography
Stress echocardiography can be used to detect viable myocardium. During the infusion of low dose dobutamine (5 – 10 μg/kg/min), an improvement of contractility in hypokinetic and akentic segments is indicative of the presence of viable myocardium. Alternatively, a low-high dose dobutamine protocol can be used in which a biphasic response characterized by improved contractile function during the low-dose infusion followed by a deterioration in contractility due to stress induced ischemia during the high dose dobutamine infusion (dobutamine dose up to 40 ug/kg/min) represents viable tissue. Newer techniques including echocardiography using contrast agents, harmonic imaging, and power doppler imaging may help to improve the diagnostic accuracy of echocardiographic assessment of myocardial viability.
Stress Echocardiography with Contrast
Intravenous contrast agents, which are high molecular weight inert gas microbubbles that act like red blood cells in the vascular space, can be used during echocardiography to assess myocardial viability. These agents allow for the assessment of myocardial blood flow (perfusion) and contractile function (as described above), as well as the simultaneous assessment of perfusion to make it possible to distinguish between stunned and hibernating myocardium.
SPECT
SPECT can be performed using thallium-201 (Tl-201), a potassium analogue, or technetium-99 m labelled tracers. When Tl-201 is injected intravenously into a patient, it is taken up by the myocardial cells through regional perfusion, and Tl-201 is retained in the cell due to sodium/potassium ATPase pumps in the myocyte membrane. The stress-redistribution-reinjection protocol involves three sets of images. The first two image sets (taken immediately after stress and then three to four hours after stress) identify perfusion defects that may represent scar tissue or viable tissue that is severely hypoperfused. The third set of images is taken a few minutes after the re-injection of Tl-201 and after the second set of images is completed. These re-injection images identify viable tissue if the defects exhibit significant fill-in (> 10% increase in tracer uptake) on the re-injection images.
The other common Tl-201 viability imaging protocol, rest-redistribution, involves SPECT imaging performed at rest five minutes after Tl-201 is injected and again three to four hours later. Viable tissue is identified if the delayed images exhibit significant fill-in of defects identified in the initial scans (> 10% increase in uptake) or if defects are fixed but the tracer activity is greater than 50%.
There are two technetium-99 m tracers: sestamibi (MIBI) and tetrofosmin. The uptake and retention of these tracers is dependent on regional perfusion and the integrity of cellular membranes. Viability is assessed using one set of images at rest and is defined by segments with tracer activity greater than 50%.
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cardiac MRI) is a non-invasive, x-ray free technique that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses, and a computer to produce detailed images of the structure and function of the heart. Two types of cardiac MRI are used to assess myocardial viability: dobutamine stress magnetic resonance imaging (DSMR) and delayed contrast-enhanced cardiac MRI (DE-MRI). DE-MRI, the most commonly used technique in Ontario, uses gadolinium-based contrast agents to define the transmural extent of scar, which can be visualized based on the intensity of the image. Hyper-enhanced regions correspond to irreversibly damaged myocardium. As the extent of hyper-enhancement increases, the amount of scar increases, so there is a lower the likelihood of functional recovery.
Cardiac Positron Emission Tomography
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine technique used to image tissues based on the distinct ways in which normal and abnormal tissues metabolize positron-emitting radionuclides. Radionuclides are radioactive analogs of common physiological substrates such as sugars, amino acids, and free fatty acids that are used by the body. The only licensed radionuclide used in PET imaging for viability assessment is F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
During a PET scan, the radionuclides are injected into the body and as they decay, they emit positively charged particles (positrons) that travel several millimetres into tissue and collide with orbiting electrons. This collision results in annihilation where the combined mass of the positron and electron is converted into energy in the form of two 511 keV gamma rays, which are then emitted in opposite directions (180 degrees) and captured by an external array of detector elements in the PET gantry. Computer software is then used to convert the radiation emission into images. The system is set up so that it only detects coincident gamma rays that arrive at the detectors within a predefined temporal window, while single photons arriving without a pair or outside the temporal window do not active the detector. This allows for increased spatial and contrast resolution.
Evidence-Based Analysis
Research Questions
What is the diagnostic accuracy of PET for detecting myocardial viability?
What is the prognostic value of PET viability imaging (mortality and other clinical outcomes)?
What is the contribution of PET viability imaging to treatment decision making?
What is the safety of PET viability imaging?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on July 17, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2004 to July 16, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. In addition, published systematic reviews and health technology assessments were reviewed for relevant studies published before 2004. Reference lists of included studies were also examined for any additional relevant studies not already identified. The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies, prognosis studies, and physician decision-making studies:
English language full-reports
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and observational studies
Patients with chronic, known CAD
PET imaging using FDG for the purpose of detecting viable myocardium
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies:
Assessment of functional recovery ≥3 months after revascularization
Raw data available to calculate sensitivity and specificity
Gold standard: prediction of global or regional functional recovery
Criteria applying to prognosis studies:
Mortality studies that compare revascularized patients with non-revascularized patients and patients with viable and non-viable myocardium
Exclusion Criteria
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies, prognosis studies, and physician decision-making studies:
PET perfusion imaging
< 20 patients
< 18 years of age
Patients with non-ischemic heart disease
Animal or phantom studies
Studies focusing on the technical aspects of PET
Studies conducted exclusively in patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI)
Duplicate publications
Criteria applying to diagnostic accuracy studies
Gold standard other than functional recovery (e.g., PET or cardiac MRI)
Assessment of functional recovery occurs before patients are revascularized
Outcomes of Interest
Diagnostic accuracy studies
Sensitivity and specificity
Positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV)
Positive and negative likelihood ratios
Diagnostic accuracy
Adverse events
Prognosis studies
Mortality rate
Functional status
Exercise capacity
Quality of Life
Influence on PET viability imaging on physician decision making
Statistical Methods
Pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity were calculated using a bivariate, binomial generalized linear mixed model. Statistical significance was defined by P values less than 0.05, where “false discovery rate” adjustments were made for multiple hypothesis testing. Using the bivariate model parameters, summary receiver operating characteristic (sROC) curves were produced. The area under the sROC curve was estimated by numerical integration with a cubic spline (default option). Finally, pooled estimates of mortality rates were calculated using weighted means.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of evidence assigned to individual diagnostic studies was determined using the QUADAS tool, a list of 14 questions that address internal and external validity, bias, and generalizibility of diagnostic accuracy studies. Each question is scored as “yes”, “no”, or “unclear”. The quality of the body of evidence was then assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
A total of 40 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: one health technology assessment, two systematic reviews, 22 observational diagnostic accuracy studies, and 16 prognosis studies. The available PET viability imaging literature addresses two questions: 1) what is the diagnostic accuracy of PET imaging for the assessment; and 2) what is the prognostic value of PET viability imaging. The diagnostic accuracy studies use regional or global functional recovery as the reference standard to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the technology. While regional functional recovery was most commonly used in the studies, global functional recovery is more important clinically. Due to differences in reporting and thresholds, however, it was not possible to pool global functional recovery.
Functional recovery, however, is a surrogate reference standard for viability and consequently, the diagnostic accuracy results may underestimate the specificity of PET viability imaging. For example, regional functional recovery may take up to a year after revascularization depending on whether it is stunned or hibernating tissue, while many of the studies looked at regional functional recovery 3 to 6 months after revascularization. In addition, viable tissue may not recover function after revascularization due to graft patency or re-stenosis. Both issues may lead to false positives and underestimate specificity. Given these limitations, the prognostic value of PET viability imaging provides the most direct and clinically useful information. This body of literature provides evidence on the comparative effectiveness of revascularization and medical therapy in patients with viable myocardium and patients without viable myocardium. In addition, the literature compares the impact of PET-guided treatment decision making with SPECT-guided or standard care treatment decision making on survival and cardiac events (including cardiac mortality, MI, hospital stays, unintended revascularization, etc).
The main findings from the diagnostic accuracy and prognosis evidence are:
Based on the available very low quality evidence, PET is a useful imaging modality for the detection of viable myocardium. The pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of regional functional recovery as a surrogate for viable myocardium are 91.5% (95% CI, 88.2% – 94.9%) and 67.8% (95% CI, 55.8% – 79.7%), respectively.
Based the available very low quality of evidence, an indirect comparison of pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity showed no statistically significant difference in the diagnostic accuracy of PET viability imaging for regional functional recovery using perfusion/metabolism mismatch with FDG PET plus either a PET or SPECT perfusion tracer compared with metabolism imaging with FDG PET alone.
FDG PET + PET perfusion metabolism mismatch: sensitivity, 89.9% (83.5% – 96.4%); specificity, 78.3% (66.3% – 90.2%);
FDG PET + SPECT perfusion metabolism mismatch: sensitivity, 87.2% (78.0% – 96.4%); specificity, 67.1% (48.3% – 85.9%);
FDG PET metabolism: sensitivity, 94.5% (91.0% – 98.0%); specificity, 66.8% (53.2% – 80.3%).
Given these findings, further higher quality studies are required to determine the comparative effectiveness and clinical utility of metabolism and perfusion/metabolism mismatch viability imaging with PET.
Based on very low quality of evidence, patients with viable myocardium who are revascularized have a lower mortality rate than those who are treated with medical therapy. Given the quality of evidence, however, this estimate of effect is uncertain so further higher quality studies in this area should be undertaken to determine the presence and magnitude of the effect.
While revascularization may reduce mortality in patients with viable myocardium, current moderate quality RCT evidence suggests that PET-guided treatment decisions do not result in statistically significant reductions in mortality compared with treatment decisions based on SPECT or standard care protocols. The PARR II trial by Beanlands et al. found a significant reduction in cardiac events (a composite outcome that includes cardiac deaths, MI, or hospital stay for cardiac cause) between the adherence to PET recommendations subgroup and the standard care group (hazard ratio, .62; 95% confidence intervals, 0.42 – 0.93; P = .019); however, this post-hoc sub-group analysis is hypothesis generating and higher quality studies are required to substantiate these findings.
The use of FDG PET plus SPECT to determine perfusion/metabolism mismatch to assess myocardial viability increases the radiation exposure compared with FDG PET imaging alone or FDG PET combined with PET perfusion imaging (total-body effective dose: FDG PET, 7 mSv; FDG PET plus PET perfusion tracer, 7.6 – 7.7 mSV; FDG PET plus SPECT perfusion tracer, 16 – 25 mSv). While the precise risk attributed to this increased exposure is unknown, there is increasing concern regarding lifetime multiple exposures to radiation-based imaging modalities, although the incremental lifetime risk for patients who are older or have a poor prognosis may not be as great as for healthy individuals.
PMCID: PMC3377573  PMID: 23074393
6.  When is reacquisition necessary due to high extra-cardiac uptake in myocardial perfusion scintigraphy? 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:20.
Background
Technetium-labeled agents, which are most often used for assessing myocardial perfusion in myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS), are cleared by the liver and excreted by the biliary system. Spillover from extra-cardiac activity into the myocardium, especially the inferior wall, might conceal defects and lower the diagnostic accuracy of the study. The objective was to determine rules of thumb for when reacquisition is useful due to high extra-cardiac uptake, i.e., when interpretation of the studies was affected by poor image quality.
Methods
Patients admitted to MPS at any of the three study sites, who also underwent a reacquisition due to high extra-cardiac uptake were included. Image quality was assessed by ten technologists on a scale ranging from 1 to 5. Interpretations regarding the presence/absence of ischemia/infarction, including the certainty of the diagnosis, were made by three physicians.
Results
There was a statistically significant increase in image quality between the first and the repeated acquisition (1,256 cases of increased quality at the repeated study (66%), 134 cases of decreased quality at the repeated study (7%), 510 cases of unchanged quality (27%) P < 0.0001). The number of equivocal studies, interpreted by physicians, decreased when evaluating the repeated studies compared to the first studies for all physicians, both for the interpretations of ischemia and for infarction. Receiver operating characteristic analyses revealed that for both endpoints (ischemia, infarction) and all physicians, the optimal cutoff point for performing a reacquisition was between quality categories 2 and 3.
Conclusion
This study indicates that repeat acquisition is useful when (1) the intensity of the extra-cardiac uptake is equal to or higher than the cardiac uptake when there is no separation between the extra-cardiac uptake and the inferior cardiac wall and (2) when the intensity of the extra-cardiac uptake is higher than the cardiac uptake when there is a separation between the extra-cardiac uptake and the inferior wall of less than one cardiac wall.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-20
PMCID: PMC3614539  PMID: 23521849
Myocardial perfusion imaging; Quality assessment; Image interpretation; Extra-cardiac uptake; Ischemic heart disease
7.  Historical Review of Cancer Risks in Medical Radiation Workers 
Radiation research  2010;174(6):793-808.
Epidemiologic studies of medical radiation workers have found excess risks of leukemia, skin and female breast cancer in those employed before 1950, but little consistent evidence of cancer risk increases subsequently. Occupational radiation-related dose-response, risk estimates for recent years, and lifetime cancer risk data are limited for radiologists and radiologic technologists and lacking for physicians and technologists performing or assisting with fluoroscopically-guided procedures. Based on data from 80 mostly small studies of cardiologists and substantially fewer studies of physicians in other specialties, estimated effective doses to physicians per interventional procedure vary by more than an order of magnitude. There is an urgent need to expand the limited base of information on average annual occupational radiation exposures and time-trends in doses received by medical radiation workers, to assess lifetime cancer risks of radiologists and radiologic technologists in the existing cohorts, and to initiate long-term follow-up studies of cancer and other radiation-associated disease risks in physicians and technologists performing or assisting with interventional procedures. Such studies will help to optimize standardized protocols for radiologic procedures, determine if current radiation protection measures are adequate, provide guidance on cancer screening needs, and yield valuable insights on cancer risks associated with chronic radiation exposure.
doi:10.1667/RR2014.1
PMCID: PMC4098897  PMID: 21128805
radiologists; interventional radiologists; radiologic technologists; interventional cardiologists; neoplasms; reviews
8.  The Effect of PACS on the Time Required for Technologists to Produce Radiographic Images in the Emergency Department Radiology Suite  
Journal of Digital Imaging  2002;15(3):153-160.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a switch to a filmless image management system on the time required for technologists to produce radiographic images in the emergency department (ED) after controlling for exam difficulty and a variable workload. Time and motion data were collected on patients who had radiographic images taken while being treated in the emergency department over the 3½-year period from April 1997 to November 2000. Event times and demographic data were obtained from the radiology information system, from the hospital information system, from emergency department records, or by observation by research coordinators. Multiple least squares regression analysis identified several independent predictors of the time required for technologists to produce radiographic images. These variables included the level of technologist experience, the number of trauma-alert patient arrivals, and whether a filmless image management system was used (all P <.05). Our regression model explained 22% of the variability in technologist time (R2 Adjusted, 0.22; F = 24.01; P <.0001). The regression model predicted a time saving of 2 to 3 minutes per patient in the elapsed time from notification of a needed examination until image availability because of the implementation of PACS, a delay of 4 to 6 minutes per patient who were imaged by technologists who spent less than 10% of their work assignments within the ED, and a delay of 18 to 27 minutes in radiology workflow because of the arrival of a trauma alert patient. A filmless system decreased the amount of time required to produce radiographs. The arrival of a trauma alert patient delayed radiology workflow in the ED. Inexperienced technologists require 4 to 6 minutes of additional time per patient to complete the same amount of work accomplished by an experienced technologist.
doi:10.1007/s10278-002-0024-5
PMCID: PMC3613261  PMID: 12415466
9.  Prognosis of patients without perfusion defects with and without rest study in myocardial perfusion scintigraphy 
EJNMMI Research  2013;3:58.
Background
Stress myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) is widely regarded as a useful imaging modality for diagnosing patients with suspected ischemic heart disease. Current European guidelines recommend stress study to be performed first since rest study can be omitted if stress study is interpreted as normal. Thus, a rest study should only be performed in patients with equivocal or abnormal studies. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prognosis of a normal stress-only MPS compared to a normal stress-rest MPS in a retrospective manner and also with regard to normal/abnormal left ventricular function data.
Methods
All 4,820 patients who underwent 99mTc MPS at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden, in 2004 to 2007, for suspected or management of known ischemic heart disease were considered. The physician in clinical charge of the investigation decided whether a rest study was necessary or not. Based on the final report according to clinical routine, only patients with a normal perfusion study (no infarction or inducible ischemia) were included. The endpoints were non-fatal acute coronary syndrome or death from ischemic cardiac origin.
Results
A total of 3,426 patients with a normal perfusion study were included. Of these, 2,215 patients had a stress-only study and 1,211 patients had both stress and rest studies. Mean follow-up was 6.2 years. The lowest event rate was found in the normal stress-only group (0.56% for normal stress-only patients vs. 1.42% for normal stress-rest patients; p < 0.0001). When dividing patients according to sex and stress type, the best prognosis was also found in the normal stress-only group (p < 0.0001 for all comparisons). Regarding left ventricular function data, we did not find any significant difference in event rate between normal vs. abnormal ejection fraction (EF), normal vs. abnormal end-diastolic volume (EDV) or normal EF, and EDV vs. abnormal EF or EDV for either the normal stress-only patients or the normal stress-rest patients.
Conclusions
Patients with a normal stress-only study had an excellent prognosis over a mean follow-up time of 6 years. Thus, omitting the rest study if the stress study is normal is a safe procedure.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-3-58
PMCID: PMC3733807  PMID: 23902737
Myocardial perfusion imaging; Ischemic heart disease; Prognostic value
10.  Development and Prospective Evaluation of an Automated Software System for Quality Control of Quantitative 99mTc-MAG3 Renal Studies 
Quantitative nuclear renography has numerous potential sources of error. We previously reported the initial development of a computer software module for comprehensively addressing the issue of quality control (QC) in the analysis of radionuclide renal images. The objective of this study was to prospectively test the QC software.
Methods
The QC software works in conjunction with standard quantitative renal image analysis using a renal quantification program. The software saves a text file that summarizes QC findings as possible errors in user-entered values, calculated values that may be unreliable because of the patient’s clinical condition, and problems relating to acquisition or processing. To test the QC software, a technologist not involved in software development processed 83 consecutive nontransplant clinical studies. The QC findings of the software were then tabulated. QC events were defined as technical (study descriptors that were out of range or were entered and then changed, unusually sized or positioned regions of interest, or missing frames in the dynamic image set) or clinical (calculated functional values judged to be erroneous or unreliable).
Results
Technical QC events were identified in 36 (43%) of 83 studies. Clinical QC events were identified in 37 (45%) of 83 studies. Specific QC events included starting the camera after the bolus had reached the kidney, dose infiltration, oversubtraction of background activity, and missing frames in the dynamic image set.
Conclusion
QC software has been developed to automatically verify user input, monitor calculation of renal functional parameters, summarize QC findings, and flag potentially unreliable values for the nuclear medicine physician. Incorporation of automated QC features into commercial or local renal software can reduce errors and improve technologist performance and should improve the efficiency and accuracy of image interpretation.
PMCID: PMC3205090  PMID: 17337654
renal function; quality control; 99mTc-MAG3; MAG3 clearance
11.  A Multisite Telemammography System for Remote Management of Screening Mammography: An Assessment of Technical, Operational, and Clinical Issues 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2006;19(3):216-225.
Objective
This paper describes a high-quality, multisite telemammography system to enable “almost real-time” remote patient management while the patient remains in the clinic. One goal is to reduce the number of women who would physically need to return to the clinic for additional imaging procedures (termed “recall”) to supplement “routine” imaging of screening mammography.
Materials and Methods
Mammography films from current and prior (when available) examinations are digitized at three remote sites and transmitted along with other pertinent information across low-level communication systems to the central site. Images are automatically cropped, wavelet compressed, and encrypted prior to transmission to the central site. At the central site, radiologists review and rate examinations on a high-resolution workstation that displays the images, computer-assisted detection results, and the technologist's communication. Intersite communication is provided instantly via a messaging “chat” window.
Results
The technologists recommended additional procedures at 2.7 times the actual clinical recall rate for the same cases. Using the telemammography system during a series of “off-line” clinically simulated studies, radiologists recommended additional procedures at 1.3 times the actual clinical recall rate. Percent agreement and kappa between the study and actual clinical interpretations were 66.1% and 0.315, respectively. For every physical recall potentially avoided using the telemammography system, approximately one presumed “unnecessary” imaging procedure was recommended.
Conclusion
Remote patient management can reduce the number of women recalled by as much as 50% without performing an unreasonable number of presumed “unnecessary” procedures.
doi:10.1007/s10278-006-0585-9
PMCID: PMC3045147  PMID: 16710798
Teleradiology; telemammography; mammography; breast cancer screening; remote decision making
12.  Totally Automatic Definition of Renal Regions-of-Interest from Tc-99m MAG3 Renograms: Validation in Patients with Normal Kidneys and in Patients with Suspected Renal Obstruction 
Nuclear medicine communications  2010;31(5):366-374.
An image processing algorithm (AUTOROI) has been developed to totally automatically (or manually assisted) detect whole-kidney contours and generate renal regions of interest (ROI) for the extraction of the quantitative measurements used in the interpretation of Tc-99m-MAG3 renograms.
Methods
The 18-20th min dynamic frames post MAG3 injection were used to automatically define boxes surrounding each kidney which were then transposed to an early composite image for interpolative and directional background subtraction. Sobel operator and unsharp masking were applied for edge enhancement and resulting image histograms were equalized to better define poorly functioning kidneys. AUTOROI searched radially from the center of mass to define each kidney's ROI coordinates. AUTOROI was validated using MAG3 studies from 79 patients referred for suspected obstruction (79 L, 77 R kidneys) and 19 kidney donors with normal kidney function and no obstruction. Renal ROIs were manually defined by a nuclear medicine technologist with 20+ years of experience (reference standard) and an ABNM certified physician. AUTOROI and physician ROIs were automatically compared to the reference standard for determining border definition error.
Results
AUTOROI detected totally automatically the renal borders in 89% (172/194) of the kidneys from the entire group of 98 patients. The 22 kidneys missed automatically were subsequently detected by the assistance of a single manually placed fiducial point demarcating the liver/kidney boundary. These 22 kidneys were shown to be associated with markedly reduced MAG3 clearance. The mean error of AUTOROI for all 194 kidneys was 6.66 ± 3.77 mm and 7.31 ± 4.52 mm for the left and right kidneys respectively. The physician's error was 6.78 ± 2.42 mm and 6.65 ± 2.05 mm for the left and right kidneys respectively. This error difference between AUTOROI and the physician was not statistically significant.
Conclusion
AUTOROI provides an objective and promising approach to automated renal ROI detection.
doi:10.1097/MNM.0b013e3283362aa3
PMCID: PMC2884994  PMID: 20145580
Automatic ROI definition; renal obstruction; Tc-99m renography
13.  Evaluation of accuracy and reproducibility of E test for susceptibility testing of Streptococcus pneumoniae to penicillin, cefotaxime, and ceftriaxone. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1995;33(9):2334-2337.
We evaluated the reproducibility with which technologists perform and interpret the E test (AB Biodisk, North America, Inc., Piscataway, N.J.) for determining the susceptibility of Streptococcus pneumoniae to penicillin, cefotaxime, and ceftriaxone. Four technologists prepared E test assays to test 124 isolates of S. pneumoniae. Each technologist then interpreted the results of the E test blinded to the interpretation of the other technologists. In addition, E test results were compared with the reference method of broth microdilution. Intraobserver and interobserver agreement were assessed by use of the kappa statistic. Interpretation of the E test and broth microdilution results showed substantial to excellent agreement, with kappa values ranging from 0.878 to 0.987. Compared with broth microdilution, no very major errors and only four major errors were made with the E test. Most minor errors with penicillin and ceftriaxone occurred for isolates with intermediate or high-level resistance, whereas for cefotaxime the minor errors were more evenly distributed between susceptible and intermediate resistance and between intermediate and high-level resistance. These results indicate that there is good agreement between technologists for the interpretation of the E test when testing the susceptibility of S. pneumoniae to penicillin, cefotaxime, and ceftriaxone and that the results of the E test agree with those of broth microdilution.
PMCID: PMC228405  PMID: 7494023
14.  Analysis of Risk Factors for Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Radiological Technologists 
Journal of Physical Therapy Science  2014;26(9):1423-1428.
[Purpose] The aim of this study was to analyze, through ergonomic analyses, those motions most used by radiological technologists that can cause musculoskeletal disorders. [Subjects and Methods] The subjects were 7 radiological technologists with work experience in hospitals for more than 5 years. For the analysis of working postures, we simulated the work posture of radiological technologists when moving patients, when pushing or pulling an apparatus, when conducting ultrasonography, and when handling a mouse for MRI were analyzed. [Results] In this study, the burdens on the radiological technologists’ waists were shown to be high when they were moving patients for a CT scan. During mouse handling for an MRI scan, large burdens were imposed on the neck. In the case of ultrasonography working postures, larger burdens on the leg and neck were found when the patient’s examination sites were located further away. The assessment of working postures when pushing a portable radiation apparatus showed that burdens on the musculoskeletal system increased as the weight of the apparatus increased. [Conclusion] The musculoskeletal disorders of radiological technologists occur in various regions of their bodies but occur most frequently in the shoulder and the lumbar region. Therefore, hospitals need to be educated regarding the concept of musculoskeletal disorders.
doi:10.1589/jpts.26.1423
PMCID: PMC4175249  PMID: 25276028
Radiological technologists; Musculoskeletal disorder; Ergonomic risk factor
15.  Referring physicians underestimate the extent of abnormalities in final reports from myocardial perfusion imaging 
EJNMMI Research  2012;2:27.
Background
It is important that referring physicians and other treating clinicians properly understand the final reports from diagnostic tests. The aim of the study was to investigate whether referring physicians interpret a final report for a myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) test in the same way that the reading nuclear medicine physician intended.
Methods
After viewing final reports containing only typical clinical verbiage and images, physicians in nuclear medicine and referring physicians (physicians in cardiology, internal medicine, and general practitioners) independently classified 60 MPS tests for the presence versus absence of ischemia/infarction according to objective grades of 1–5 (1 = No ischemia/infarction, 2 = Probably no ischemia/infarction 3 = Equivocal, 4 = Probable ischemia/infarction, and 5 = Certain ischemia/infarction). When ischemia and/or infarction were thought to be present in the left ventricle, all physicians were also asked to mark the involved segments based on the 17-segment model.
Results
There was good diagnostic agreement between physicians in nuclear medicine and referring physicians when assessing the general presence versus absence of both ischemia and infarction (median squared kappa coefficient of 0.92 for both). However, when using the 17-segment model, compared to the physicians in nuclear medicine, 12 of 23 referring physicians underestimated the extent of ischemic area while 6 underestimated and 1 overestimated the extent of infarcted area.
Conclusions
Whereas referring physicians gain a good understanding of the general presence versus absence of ischemia and infarction from MPS test reports, they often underestimate the extent of any ischemic or infarcted areas. This may have adverse clinical consequences and thus the language in final reports from MPS tests might be further improved and standardized.
doi:10.1186/2191-219X-2-27
PMCID: PMC3466153  PMID: 22682066
Structured reporting; Ischemic heart disease; 99mTc MPS; Infarction; Ischemia
16.  Erythromycin as an alternative to reduce interfering extra-cardiac activity in myocardial perfusion imaging 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2010;21(3):142-147.
Objectives
We sought to determine whether taking oral erythromycin prior to SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging with Tc99m-sestamibi would reduce the amount of interfering extra-cardiac activity and improve the image quality.
Methods
A total of 96 patients who were routinely referred for myocardial perfusion imaging were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Patients in group A received 500 mg of non-enterically coated erythromycin orally one hour prior to image acquisition (45 patients). Patients in group B received diluted lemon juice which comprises the current standard of care in our department (51 patients). A two-day protocol was followed and study participants received the same intervention on both days. Planar images of both the stress and rest images were assessed visually by three experienced nuclear medicine physicians for the presence of interfering extra-cardiac activity. Physicians were blinded to the detail of the protocol and independently assessed the images.
Results
The qualitative results favoured lemon juice in reducing the amount of interfering extra-cardiac activity. The overall incidence of interfering extra-cardiac activity was 46.15% in the lemon juice group vs 55.56% in the erythromycin group. However, this difference was not found to be statistically significant (p = 0.36). The use of a MYO:EXT ratio similar to the one described by Peace and Lloyd,11 appeared promising in quantifying interfering extra-cardiac activity.
Conclusion
The difference between the effect of erythromycin and lemon juice on interfering extra-cardiac activity appears statistically insignificant and erythromycin could therefore be considered as a suitable alternative to lemon juice.
PMCID: PMC3721639  PMID: 20532452
erythromyacin; myocardial perfusion imaging; artefacts; improving diagnostic accuracy
17.  Estimation of radiation dose received by the radiation worker during F-18 FDG injection process 
Background:
The radiation dosimetric literature concerning the medical and non-medical personnel working in nuclear medicine departments are limited, particularly radiation doses received by radiation worker in nuclear medicine department during positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceutical injection process. This is of interest and concern for the personnel.
Aim:
To measure the radiation dose received by the staff involved in injection process of Fluorine-18 Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG).
Materials and Methods:
The effective whole body doses to the radiation workers involved in injections of 1511 patients over a period of 10 weeks were evaluated using pocket dosimeter. Each patient was injected with 5 MBq/kg of F-18 FDG. The F18-FDG injection protocol followed in our department is as follows. The technologist dispenses the dose to be injected and records the pre-injection activity. The nursing staff members then secure an intravenous catheter. The nuclear medicine physicians/residents inject the dose on a rotation basis in accordance with ALARA principle. After the injection of the tracer, the nursing staff members flush the intravenous catheter. The person who injected the tracer then measures the post-injection residual dose in the syringe.
Results:
The mean effective whole body doses per injection for the staff were the following: Nurses received 1.44±0.22 μSv/injection (3.71±0.48 nSv/MBq), for doctors the dose values were 2.44±0.25 μSv/injection (6.29±0.49 nSv/MBq) and for technologists the doses were 0.61±0.10 μSv/injection (1.58±0.21 nSv/MBq). It was seen that the mean effective whole body dose per injection of our positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) staff who were involved in the F18-FDG injection process was maximum for doctors (54.34% differential doses), followed by nurses (32.02% differential doses) and technologist (13.64% differential doses).
Conclusion:
This study confirms that low levels of radiation dose are received by staff during F18-FDG injection and these values can be used as a reference to allay any anxiety in the radiation workers.
doi:10.4103/0972-3919.84591
PMCID: PMC3180714  PMID: 21969773
Positron emission tomography/computed tomography; pocket dosimeter; radiation dose
18.  Rapid detection of group A streptococci: comparative performance by nurses and laboratory technologists in pediatric satellite laboratories using three test kits. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1992;30(1):138-142.
Rapid tests for detecting group A streptococci in throat swabs are often performed outside hospitals or commercial laboratories by individuals with little or no technical training. We compared the abilities of nurses and technologists to perform and interpret three commercial kits (Directigen 1-2-3, ICON Strep A, and Culturette Brand 10-Minute Strep A ID) in three hospital satellite locations (the emergency department, a walk-in emergency clinic, and a general pediatric clinic). When the three tests were compared with culture, the sensitivities of the tests as performed by nurses and technologists, respectively, were 39 versus 44% for Directigen, 55 versus 51% for Culturette, and 72 versus 39% for ICON. A significant difference in sensitivity was found only with ICON tests. This result was largely explained by the tendency of technologists to test moist swabs, while nurses generally processed dry swabs; ICON test sensitivity was significantly greater with dry swabs. The specificities of Directigen and ICON tests performed by nurses and technologists were high (97 to 100%). The difference in the specificities of the Culturette test as determined from results obtained by nurses and technologists (80 versus 98%) was due to the tendency of one nurse to overinterpret the latex agglutination reaction. Analysis of the accuracies of the tests during practice periods compared with the accuracies of the tests during the study periods revealed statistically significant improvement in test performance. We conclude that these tests are specific but not sensitive when performed by nurses and technologists in satellite laboratories. With one exception, nurses and technologists performed the tests with comparable accuracy after brief training periods.
PMCID: PMC265009  PMID: 1734045
19.  Assessment of Mammography Experiences and Satisfaction among American Indian/Alaska Native Women 
BACKGROUND
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women have lower breast cancer (BCA) screening and 5-year survival rates than non-Hispanic Whites. Understanding reasons for low screening rates is important to combat later stage diagnoses. The purpose of this study was to assess mammography experiences and satisfaction among AI/AN women.
METHODS
Nine focus groups were held with rural (N=15) and urban (N=38) AI/AN women 40 years and older in Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, living both near and far from Indian Health Service (IHS) and tribal facilities, to examine experiences and satisfaction with mammography. Transcripts were coded and themes identified using a community-based participatory research approach.
FINDINGS
Themes were classified under knowledge, communication, and awareness of breast cancer, barriers to mammography, mammogram facility size, impressions of mammogram technologist, motivations to getting a mammogram, and how to improve the mammogram experience. Participants had knowledge of prevention, but described cultural reasons for not discussing it and described better experiences in smaller facilities. Participants indicated having a mammogram technologist who was friendly, knowledgeable, respectful, competent, and explained the test was a determining factor in satisfaction. Other factors included family history, physician recommendation, and financial incentives. Barriers included transportation, cost, perceptions of prejudice, and time constraints. Participants on reservations or near IHS facilities preferred IHS over mainstream providers. Suggestions for improvement included caring technologists, better machines with less discomfort, and education.
CONCLUSIONS
Interventions to enhance the professionalism, empathy, and cultural awareness of mammogram technologists, reduce barriers, and provide positive expectations and incentives could improve satisfaction and compliance with screening mammography.
doi:10.1016/j.whi.2013.08.003
PMCID: PMC3885991  PMID: 24183414
20.  Electronic imaging impact on image and report turnaround times 
Journal of Digital Imaging  1999;12(Suppl 1):155-159.
We prospectively compared image and report delivery times in our Urgent Care Center (UCC) during a film-based practice (1995) and after complete implementation of an electronic imaging practice in 1997. Before switching to a totally electronic and filmless practice, multiple time periods were consistently measured during a 1-week period in May 1995 and then again in a similar week in May 1997 after implementation of electronic imaging. All practice patterns were the same except for a film-based practice in 1995 versus a filmless practice in 1997. The following times were measured: (1) waiting room time, (2) technologist’s time of examination, (3) time to quality control, (4) radiology interpretation times, (5) radiology image and report delivery time, (6) total radiology turn-around time, (7) time to room the patient back in the UCC, and (8) time until the ordering physician views the film. Waiting room time was longer in 1997 (average time, 26∶47) versus 1995 (average time, 15∶54). The technologist’s examination completion time was approximately the same (1995 average time, 06∶12; 1997 average time, 05∶41). There was also a slight increase in the time of the technologist’s electronic verification or quality control in 1997 (average time, 7∶17) versus the film-based practice in 1995 (average time, 2∶35). However, radiology interpretation times dramatically improved (average time, 49∶38 in 1995 versus average time 13∶50 in 1997). There was also a decrease in image delivery times to the clinicians in 1997 (median, 53 minutes) versus the film based practice of 1995 (1 hour and 40 minutes). Reports were available with the images immediately upon completion by the radiologist in 1997, compared with a median time of 27 minutes in 1995. Importantly, patients were roomed back into the UCC examination rooms faster after the radiologic procedure in 1997 (average time, 13∶36) than they were in 1995 (29∶38). Finally, the ordering physicians viewed the diagnostic images and reports in dramatically less time in 1997 (median, 26 minutes) versus 1995 (median, 1 hour and 5 minutes). In conclusion, a filmless electronic imaging practice within our UCC greatly improved radiology image and report delivery times, as well as improved clinical efficiency.
doi:10.1007/BF03168787
PMCID: PMC3452886  PMID: 10342198
21.  Importance of Bladder Radioactivity for Radiation Safety in Nuclear Medicine 
Objective: Most of the radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine are excreted via the urinary system. This study evaluated the importance of a reduction in bladder radioactivity for radiation safety.
Methods: The study group of 135 patients underwent several organ scintigraphies [40/135; thyroid scintigraphy (TS), 30/135; whole body bone scintigraphy (WBS), 35/135; myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) and 30/135; renal scintigraphy (RS)] by a technologist within 1 month. In full and empty conditions, static bladder images and external dose rate measurements at 0.25, 0.50, 1, 1.5 and 2 m distances were obtained and decline ratios were calculated from these two data sets.
Results: External radiation dose rates were highest in patients undergoing MPS. External dose rates at 0.25 m distance for TS, TKS, MPS and BS were measured to be 56, 106, 191 and 72 μSv h-1 for full bladder and 29, 55, 103 and 37 μSv h-1 for empty bladder, respectively. For TS, WBS, MPS and RS, respectively, average decline ratios were calculated to be 52%, 55%, 53% and 54% in the scintigraphic assessment and 49%, 51%, 49%, 50% and 50% in the assessment with Geiger counter.
Conclusion: Decline in bladder radioactivity is important in terms of radiation safety. Patients should be encouraged for micturition after each scintigraphic test. Spending time together with radioactive patients at distances less than 1 m should be kept to a minimum where possible.
Conflict of interest:None declared.
doi:10.4274/Mirt.18480
PMCID: PMC3888019  PMID: 24416625
Radiation protection; Radionuclide imaging; ionizing radiation; radiation effects; radiation monitoring
22.  Use of a low-cost, PC-based image review workstation at a radiology department 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2001;14(Suppl 1):222-223.
Despite the increasing use of diagnostic workstations, film reading is still commonplace in most radiology departments all over the world. The purpose of this work is to assess the adoption of image review workstations in a radiology department where the usual primary diagnosis is film-based and cannot be replaced with diagnostic workstations. At our institution, a tertiary care center specialized in diagnostic imaging, a pair of PC-based review workstations running a Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)-conformant public domain software for image display and analysis were installed in two reading rooms. Studies are automatically routed after acquisition from the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) server to the workstations and remain available for visualization for approximately 15 to 20 days. Data from two radiologists and two technologists collected over a 3-month period were analyzed, including purpose of use, time savings as compared to traditional manual methods, and overall user satisfaction. The results from the analysis presented in this work indicate a high degree of approval from the users, who report significant timesavings in numerous circumstances, in particular when it comes to discussing findings with referring physicians whenever films are not available. It also enriches communication between radiologists, facilitating peer review on the telephone when one of them has questions at the outcome of any given study. One of the main advantages associated with the system is the possibility of using it as a powerful tool for teaching and research. In conclusion, even when primary diagnosis is performed on film, the availability of a PACS for review can be helpful to enhance communication with referring physicians, as well as technologists and radiologists’ efficiency. Our experience shows that it is possible to implement such a system using low-cost or freely available components without compromising ease of use while keeping costs down, which is a major concern in developing countries.
doi:10.1007/BF03190346
PMCID: PMC3452710  PMID: 11442105
23.  Automated Detection of Contractile Abnormalities from Stress-Rest Motion Changes 
Proceedings of SPIE  2012;2012(8315):83152G.
Changes in myocardial function signatures such as wall motion and thickening are typically computed separately from myocardial perfusion SPECT (MPS) stress and rest studies to assess for stress-induced function abnormalities. The standard approach may suffer from the variability in contour placements and image orientation when subtle changes between stress and rest scans in motion and thickening are being evaluated. We have developed a new measure of regional change of function signature (motion and thickening) computed directly from registered stress and rest gated MPS data. In our novel approach, endocardial surfaces at the end-diastolic and end-systolic frames for stress and rest studies were registered by matching ventricular surfaces. Furthermore, we propose a new global registration method based on finding the optimal rotation for myocardial best ellipsoid fit to minimize the indexing disparities between two surfaces between stress and rest studies. Myocardial stress-rest function changes were computed and normal limits of change were determined as the mean and standard deviation of the training set for each polar sample. Normal limits were utilized to quantify the stress-rest function change for each polar map sample and the accumulated quantified function signature values were used for abnormality assessments in territorial regions. To evaluate the effectiveness of our novel method, we examined the agreements of our results against visual scores for motion change on vessel territorial regions obtained by human experts on a test group with 623 cases and were able to show that our detection method has a improved sensitivity on per vessel territory basis, compared to those obtained by human experts utilizing gated MPS data.
doi:10.1117/12.911672
PMCID: PMC3596827  PMID: 23504615
Coronary artery disease; Regional wall motion; SPECT; Gated study
24.  Interventional radiography and mortality risks in U.S. radiologic technologists 
Pediatric Radiology  2006;36(Suppl 2):113-120.
With the exponential increase in minimally invasive fluoroscopically guided interventional radiologic procedures, concern has increased about the health effects on staff and patients of radiation exposure from these procedures. There has been no systematic epidemiologic investigation to quantify serious disease risks or mortality. To quantify all-cause, circulatory system disease and cancer mortality risks in U.S. radiologic technologists who work with interventional radiographic procedures, we evaluated mortality risks in a nationwide cohort of 88,766 U.S. radiologic technologists (77% female) who completed a self-administered questionnaire during 1994–998 and were followed through 31 December 2003. We obtained information on work experience, types of procedures (including fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures), and protective measures plus medical, family cancer history, lifestyle, and reproductive information. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to compute relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Between completion of the questionnaire and the end of follow-up, there were 3,581 deaths, including 1,209 from malignancies and 979 from circulatory system diseases. Compared to radiologic technologists who never or rarely performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures, all-cause mortality risks were not increased among those working on such procedures daily. Similarly, there was no increased risk of mortality resulting from all circulatory system diseases combined, all cancers combined, or female breast cancer among technologists who daily performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures. Based on small numbers of deaths (n=151), there were non-significant excesses (40%–0%) in mortality from cerebrovascular disease among technologists ever working with these procedures. The absence of significantly elevated mortality risks in radiologic technologists reporting the highest frequency of interventional radiography procedures must be interpreted cautiously in light of the small number of deaths during the relatively short follow-up. The present study cannot rule out increased risks of cerebrovascular disease, specific cancers, and diseases with low case-fatality rates or a long latency period preceding death.
doi:10.1007/s00247-006-0224-0
PMCID: PMC2663634  PMID: 16862404
Radiologic technologists; Interventional radiography; Occupational radiation exposure; Mortality
25.  Radiation awareness among radiology residents, technologists, fellows and staff: where do we stand? 
Insights into Imaging  2014;6(1):133-139.
Objectives
To investigate and compare the knowledge of radiation dose and risk incurred in common radiology examinations among radiology residents, fellows, staff radiologists and technologists.
Methods
A questionnaire containing 17 multiple choice questions was administered to all residents, technologists, fellows and staff radiologists of the department of medical imaging through the hospital group mailing list.
Results
A total of 92 responses was received. Mean score was 8.5 out of 17. Only 48 % of all participants scored more than 50 % correct answers. Only 23 % were aware of dose from both single-view and two-view chest X-ray; 50–70 % underestimated dose from common studies; 50–75 % underestimated the risk of fatal cancer. Awareness about radiation exposure in pregnancy is variable and particularly poor among technologists. A statistically significant comparative knowledge gap was found among technologists.
Conclusions
Our results show a variable level of knowledge about radiation dose and risk among radiology residents, fellows, staff radiologists and technologists, but overall knowledge is inadequate in all groups. There is significant underestimation of dosage and cancer risk from common examinations, which could potentially lead to suboptimal risk assessment and excessive or unwarranted studies posing significant radiation hazard to the patient and radiology workers.
Main Messages
• Knowledge of radiation dose and risk is poor among all radiology workers.
• Significant knowledge gap among technologists compared to residents, fellows and staff radiologists.
• Significant underestimation of radiation dose and cancer risk from common examinations.
doi:10.1007/s13244-014-0365-x
PMCID: PMC4330233  PMID: 25412827
Radiation dose; Radiation risk; Residents; Technologists; Cancer risk; Questionnaire

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