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1.  Challenges to Protocol Optimization Due to Unexpected Variation of CT Contrast Dose Amount and Flow 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2012;26(3):402-405.
High-quality computed tomography (CT) exams are critical to maximizing radiologist’s interpretive ability. Exam quality in part depends on proper contrast administration. We examined injector data from consecutive abdominal and pelvic CT exams to analyze variation in contrast administration. Discrepancies between intended IV contrast dose and flow rate with the actual administered contrast dose and measured flow rate were common. In particular, delivered contrast dose discrepancies of at least 10% occurred in 13% of exams while discrepancies in flow rate of at least 10% occurred in 42% of exams. Injector logs are useful for assessing and tracking this type of variability which may confound contrast administration optimization and standardization efforts.
doi:10.1007/s10278-012-9544-9
PMCID: PMC3649061  PMID: 23143417
Computed tomography; Computer communication networks; Computer hardware; Contrast media; Diagnostic image quality
2.  Diagnostic Performance of Resting CT Myocardial Perfusion in Patients With Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome 
AJR. American journal of roentgenology  2013;200(5):W450-W457.
OBJECTIVE
Coronary CT angiography has high sensitivity, but modest specificity, to detect acute coronary syndrome. We studied whether adding resting CT myocardial perfusion imaging improved the detection of acute coronary syndrome.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
Patients with low-to-intermediate cardiac risk presenting with possible acute coronary syndrome received both the standard of care evaluation and a research thoracic 64-MDCT examination. Patients with an obstructive (> 50%) stenosis or a nonevaluable coronary segment on CT were diagnosed with possible acute coronary syndrome. CT perfusion was determined by applying gray and color Hounsfield unit maps to resting CT angiography images. Adjudicated patient diagnoses were based on the standard of care and 3-month follow-up. Patient-level diagnostic performance for acute coronary syndrome was calculated for coronary CT, CT perfusion, and combined techniques.
RESULTS
A total of 105 patients were enrolled. Of the nine (9%) patients with acute coronary syndrome, all had obstructive CT stenoses but only three had abnormal CT perfusion. CT perfusion was normal in all other patients. To detect acute coronary syndrome, CT angiography had 100% sensitivity, 89% specificity, and a positive predictive value of 45%. For CT perfusion, specificity and positive predictive value were each 100%, and sensitivity was 33%. Combined cardiac CT and CT perfusion had similar specificity but a higher positive predictive value (100%) than did CT angiography.
CONCLUSION
Resting CT perfusion using CT angiographic images may have high specificity and may improve CT positive predictive value for acute coronary syndrome without added radiation and contrast. However, normal resting CT perfusion cannot exclude acute coronary syndrome.
doi:10.2214/AJR.12.8934
PMCID: PMC4039350  PMID: 23617513
acute coronary syndrome; cardiac perfusion; CT angiography; emergency department; triple rule-out
3.  Low-Risk Patients With Chest Pain in the Emergency Department: Negative 64-MDCT Coronary Angiography May Reduce Length of Stay and Hospital Charges 
OBJECTIVE
The current standard-of-care workup of low-risk patients with chest pain in an emergency department takes 12–36 hours and is expensive. We hypothesized that negative 64-MDCT coronary angiography early in the workup of such patients may enable a shorter length of stay and reduce charges.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The standard-of-care evaluation consisted of serial cardiac enzyme tests, ECGs, and stress testing. After informed consent, we added cardiac CT early in the standard-of-care workup of 53 consecutive patients. Fifty patients had negative CT findings and were included in this series. The length of stay and charges were analyzed using actual patient data for all patients in the standard-of-care workup and for two earlier discharge scenarios based on negative cardiac CT results: First, CT plus serial enzyme tests and ECGs during an observation period followed by discharge if all were negative; and second, CT plus one set of enzyme tests and one ECG followed by discharge if all were negative. Comparisons were made using paired Student’s t tests.
RESULTS
For standard of care and the two CT-based earlier discharge analyses, the mean lengths of stay were 25.4, 14.3, and 5.0 hours; mean charges were $7,597, $6,153, and $4,251. Length of stay and charges were both significantly less (p < 0.001) for the two CT-based analyses.
CONCLUSION
In low-risk patients with chest pain, discharge from the emergency department based on negative cardiac CT, enzyme tests, and ECG may significantly decrease both length of stay and hospital charges compared with the standard of care.
doi:10.2214/AJR.08.2021
PMCID: PMC3743664  PMID: 19542407
chest pain; cost analysis; CT coronary angiography; emergency department; length of stay
4.  Whole-Chest 64-MDCT of Emergency Department Patients with Nonspecific Chest Pain: Radiation Dose and Coronary Artery Image Quality with Prospective ECG Triggering Versus Retrospective ECG Gating 
AJR. American journal of roentgenology  2009;192(6):1662-1667.
Objective
The purpose of this study was to compare the patient radiation dose and coronary artery image quality of long-z-axis whole-chest 64-MDCT performed with retrospective ECG gating with those of CT performed with prospective ECG triggering in the evaluation of emergency department patients with nonspecific chest pain.
Subjects and Methods
Consecutively registered emergency department patients with nonspecific low-to-moderate-risk chest pain underwent whole-chest CT with retrospective gating (n = 41) or prospective triggering (n = 31). Effective patient radiation doses were estimated and compared by use of unpaired Student's t tests. Two reviewers independently scored the quality of images of the coronary arteries, and the scores were compared by use of ordinal logistic regression.
Results
Age, heart rate, body mass index, and z-axis coverage were not statistically different between the two groups. For retrospective gating, the mean effective radiation dose was 31.8 ± 5.1 mSv; for prospective triggering, the mean effective radiation dose was 9.2 ± 2.2 mSv (prospective triggering 71% lower, p < 0.001). Two of 512 segments imaged with retrospective gating were nonevaluable (0.4%), and two of 394 segments imaged with prospective triggering were nonevaluable (0.5%). Prospectively triggered images were 2.2 (95% CI, 1.1–4.5) times as likely as retrospectively gated images to receive a high image quality score for each segment after adjustment for segment differences (p < 0.05).
Conclusion
For long-z-axis whole-chest 64-MDCT of emergency department patients with nonspecific chest pain, use of prospective ECG triggering may result in substantially lower patient radiation doses and better coronary artery image quality than is achieved with retrospective ECG gating.
doi:10.2214/AJR.08.1872
PMCID: PMC3695735  PMID: 19457832
cardiac CT; gating technique; image quality; radiation dose
5.  Diagnostic Accuracy and Clinical Outcomes of ECG-Gated, Whole Chest CT in the Emergency Department 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61121.
Purpose
The purpose of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy and one year prognosis of whole chest, “multiple rule out” CT for coronary artery disease (CAD) in Emergency Department patients.
Methods and Findings
One hundred and two Emergency Department patients at low to intermediate risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), pulmonary embolism and/or acute aortic syndrome underwent a research 64 channel ECG-gated, whole chest CT and a standard of care evaluation. Patients were classified with obstructive CAD with either a coronary CT stenosis greater than 50% or a non-evaluable coronary segment. SOC and 3 month follow up data were used to determine an adjudicated clinical diagnosis. The diagnostic ability of obstructive CAD on CT to identify clinical diagnoses was determined. Patients were followed up for 1 year for cardiac events. Seven (7%) patients were diagnosed with ACS. CT sensitivity to detect obstructive CAD in ACS patients was 100% (95% CI 65%, 100%), negative predictive value 100% (96%, 100%), specificity 88% (80%, 94%), and positive predictive value 39% (17%, 64%). Pulmonary embolism and acute aortic syndrome were not identified in any patients. No cardiac events occurred in patients without obstructive CAD over 1 year.
Conclusions
Whole chest CT has high sensitivity and negative predictive value for ACS with excellent one year prognosis in patients without obstructive CAD on CT. The frequency of pulmonary embolism or acute aortic syndrome and the higher radiation dose suggest whole chest CT should be limited to select patients.
ClinicalTrials.org #: NCT00855231
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061121
PMCID: PMC3629052  PMID: 23613797
6.  Cytotoxicity of iron oxide nanoparticles made from the thermal decomposition of organometallics and aqueous phase transfer with Pluronic F127 
Magnetic nanoparticles are promising molecular imaging agents due to their relative high relaxivity and the potential to modify surface functionality to tailor biodistribution. In this work we describe the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles using organic solvents with organometallic precursors. This method results in nanoparticles that are highly crystalline, and have uniform size and shape. The ability to create a monodispersion of particles of the same size and shape results in unique magnetic properties that can be useful for biomedical applications with MR imaging. Before these nanoparticles can be used in biological applications, however, means are needed to make the nanoparticles soluble in aqueous solutions and the toxicity of these nanoparticles needs to be studied.
We have developed two methods to surface modify and transfer these nanoparticles to the aqueous phase using the biocompatible co-polymer, Pluronic F127. Cytotoxicity was found to be dependent on the coating procedure used. Nanoparticle effects on a cell-culture model was quantified using concurrent assaying; a LDH assay to determine cytotoxicity and an MTS assay to determine viability for a 24 hour incubation period. Concurrent assaying was done to insure that nanoparticles did not interfere with the colorimetric assay results.
This report demonstrates that a monodispersion of nanoparticles of uniform size and shape can be manufactured. Initial cytotoxicity testing of new molecular imaging agents need to be carefully constructed to avoid interference and erroneous results.
doi:10.1002/cmmi.391
PMCID: PMC3020093  PMID: 20623517
MRI; molecular imaging; nanoparticles; superparamagnetic agents; cytotoxicity; Colorimetric Assay; Pluronics

Results 1-6 (6)