Pediatric Radiology Trends

Pediatric radiology covers a wide range of uses. From broken bones to dental exams to chronic conditions, it’s arguably one of the most important advancements in medical history. Even more impressive, the improvement hasn’t stopped there. Pediatric radiology has made multiple advancements over time, many of them in the past few years, including lower exposure techniques and non-invasive imaging.

One of the most influential advancements in pediatric radiology is the use of ionizing radiation. According to a 2021 article by Imaging Technology News, radiation is a big factor in medical imaging for children. Because their organs are still developing, they are more sensitive to radiation, and can develop illnesses, including leukemia or brain and thyroid cancer, if exposed to too much of it. To combat exposure, medical professionals use computed tomography, fluoroscopy, and the x-ray. All three imaging procedures use a form of ionizing technology which allows doctors to diagnose patients non-invasively. These life-saving advancements are incredibly useful, however, over time and with cumulative exposure, radiation is still a concern, according to the article.

In 2019, Business Wire wrote about a recently approved FDA technology that reduces the dose of radiation to pediatric patients while still producing a clear image. The S-Vue, produced by Samsung, “reduced x-ray dose up to 45% for pediatric abdomen exams, 15.5% for pediatric chest exams, and up to 27% for pediatric skull exams.” S-Vue uses noise-reducing technology to produce these clear images. As if this wasn’t extraordinary enough, Samsung also released an updated version of the S-Vue for adults earlier this year, said Design and Development Today.

For the smallest patients, a new MRI system recently became approved just last year and is being used in Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, and hospitals around the world, according to Forbes. The Embrace Neonatal MRI System accommodates newborns and infants for clear images while not moving the tiny patient, who may be in critical condition, to different parts of the hospital. According to their website, the Embrace is the first FDA approved neonatal MRI system for exclusive use inside NICUs for newborns.

In addition to technologies used for newborns, ultrasounds have become advanced as well. Usually, an ultrasound is the first record of a new life, producing that fuzzy, albeit beautiful image of a parents’ child. However, ultrasounds are used for many more reasons. According to Forbes, the ultrasound has gotten a bit of an upgrade, including 3-D and 4-D technologies, and an ultra-doppler advancement technique, among other innovations. According to the article, ultrasound elastography is a technique used to detect different stages of liver fibrosis. This technology reduces the need for young patients to undergo a biopsy where sedation and anesthesia may be required.

 

teleradiology pediatric

While the reason for these technologies may not be our favorite thoughts, it is a comfort and an uplifting notion that the innovators, scientists, and medical professionals behind these machines are working hard to help the youngest among us and to reinforce the idea that we are truly here to help one another.

How AI is Making an Impact on Radiology and Imaging

The fields of science and medicine are always progressing. This progression intends to help both patients and providers.

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming common as a way to diagnose patients. It provides a more efficient way to collect and store information. The software can even analyze imaging to a high level of accuracy. This helps providers catch a problem that they may have missed before.

AI is a field that is advancing quickly. What progress have we seen in the past couple of years? What programs have we begun to put in place?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence refers to highly advanced computers or computer-controlled robots. These computers are capable of performing incredibly complex tasks. Before, we thought these tasks could only be done by intelligent beings.

AI in imaging

These computers are often associated with human characteristics. They seem to be able to reason and learn from past experiences.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Used For Diagnostic Imaging & Radiation?

Using AI in radiology and imaging has been gaining traction in the medical world. We use it largely to store and analyze data, helping physicians to make a prognosis. AI can store and analyze all a patient’s records. It can then make a diagnosis based on those records. The analysis is often far more accurate than what a human counterpart can do.

The use of AI is also helpful because of its storage capability. AI can have large imaging biobanks to hold more images than standard computers.

It also makes the lives of physicians easier by filtering patients by need. It can recommend appropriate diagnostic imaging based on the patient’s current records. It can also sort patients by priority in the case of an emergency.

What Advancements Have Been Made?

AI means to eliminate problems associated with human limitations. Traditional imaging takes a team of technicians. They must take the imaging as well as interpret it. This can be time-consuming. Plus, AI is able to analyze images with far greater accuracy than the human eye.

Radiomics

Radiomics is a tool that performs a deep analysis of tumors down to the molecular level. AI can perform radiomics with far better accuracy than the human eye or brain.

AI can analyze a specific region and extract over 400 elements. It then takes these features and correlates them with other data to form a diagnosis. The AI can analyze features from radiographs, CT, MRI, or PET studies.

Rapid Brain-Imaging AI Software

Hyperfine is the manufacturer of portable MRI machines. They are now creating these machines with new AI intelligence software. They believe that this new software will be able to perform brain scans in under 3 minutes.

AI-Generated Drugs

In 2020, an AI-created drug went to human clinical trials. The drug intends to treat OCD, and was designed entirely by AI. Exscientia is the manufacturer of the drug. They say that it normally takes about 4.5 years to get a new drug to this stage of testing. With AI generation, the drug got to the human clinical trial stage in under 12 months.

Making A Diagnosis

We stated earlier that AI is being used as a way to more efficiently diagnose patients. Still, relying entirely on AI to do this can complicate things and may be unwise.

So, the researchers of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab worked to combat this. They created a machine learning system that analyzes the data and decides whether to diagnose.

If it “feels” it’s unable to make an accurate prediction, it will defer to a medical professional. It even considers whether to defer to an expert based on who in the medical team is available. It will consider each team member’s availability, level of experience, and specialty.

Conclusion  

AI in diagnostic imaging shows promise to truly advance quality of care for patients. We are excited to see more advancements in this arena. In the meantime, we don’t believe any machine can currently replace a trained human eye when it comes to interpretations. At Vesta, we provide US Board Certified radiologists who work to provide accurate preliminary and final interpretations. Learn how we can support your radiology department– contact us today. 

The State of Telehealth Today

The pandemic changed many ways we function in today’s society, but the most significant changes came in the healthcare industry. Many of our doctor visits and consults were via the internet on one of many telehealth websites developed during the pandemic time frame.

The telehealth websites allowed physicians and other medical professionals to manage their patient’s health care services during a time when social distancing was necessary for the public’s health and safety. The internet brought medical care to patients who could remain in the comfort of their homes.

Advantages of Telehealth

There were many advantages to providing healthcare through telehealth technology. These advantages include:

  • Easier access to healthcare for rural communities
  • Easier access to healthcare for patients with limited mobility
  • Safer and easier access to healthcare for patients with compromised immune systems
  • Easier access to professional medical specialists
  • Easier access for patients for medical consultations or advice on self-management of healthcare
  • More immediate and easier access for mental health patients with mental health professionals
  • A physician’s ability to monitor “at-risk” patients more closely using devices that monitor blood pressure, heart rates, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, and certain medications

 

The primary difficulty with the changeover to telehealth technology has been the acceptance by insurance companies to include exceptions for payments. In the past, Medicare has dictated trends for other insurance companies to follow.

To take advantage of telehealth technology, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services needed to adopt many Medicare healthcare policy changes during the pandemic. Most of the changes were temporary and scheduled to end when the pandemic was over.

 

Because of the significant benefits telehealth technology has brought to the healthcare industry, Congress has approved additions and extensions to  Medicare. These are a few of the extensions Congress supported:

  • Medicare will pay health care providers for telehealth services to patients who are at their homes, or any other location
  • Medicare pays health care providers such as physicians and nurses and will include paying qualified occupational therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, and speech pathologists.
  • Medicare will continue to pay for audio-only telehealth technology
  • Medicare will continue to compensate and provide support for rural communities dependent on telehealth technology

telemedicine

Even though the public has been made aware of how vital telehealth technology has become in filling gaps in the health care system, there are still concerns about payment and fraud abuse. Medicare and other insurance systems will be more accepting if programmers expand on advanced reporting and payment safeguards designed into the programs.

 

Even with the concerns insurance companies may have, the future looks promising to include telehealth technology in everyday healthcare. Patients and healthcare providers will continue to enjoy the convenience, the swift access to professional help, and the ability to remain safe from exposure to other illnesses.

 

In summary, telehealth technology will probably not go away, but demand will insist on expansion. In the future, we might see:

  • Patient care plans including some form of virtual service
  • Changes from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model of healthcare
  • Expansion of specialized physical health and mental health care options available using telehealth technology
  • Longer one-on-one healthcare professional-to-patient time talking and listening
  • It may become a solution to the projected shortage of healthcare professionals in the future

 

Presently, there is no continuity in the regulation of telehealth technology resulting in every state having different policies. It’s imperative to check with your health care insurance to evaluate coverage by your insurance policy.

Telehealth technology came to us out of necessity, but the benefits have given it staying power. The future for expansion in the field is limitless, allowing more freedom and productivity for providers and their patients.

tele-radiologist

Vesta Teleradiology

It goes without saying that Telemedicine is our specialty. In fact, healthcare facilities look to Vesta to support in full or part, their radiology departments. Our U.S. Board Certified radiologists work nights, weekends, and even holidays so you can continue to provide quality care for your patients. Even more, Vesta works with you in terms of the format and style of the interpretation report adapting to your interpretive mode.

How Diagnostic Imaging Centers Can Benefit from Teleradiology

It’s safe to say that every medical professional wants the best care and treatment for their patients. From the time a patient steps foot into a medical facility to the time he or she leaves, accuracy and timeliness are key factors in their treatment plans. But what if those two things weren’t available right away? At a diagnostic imaging center, patients put their trust into the qualified and knowledgeable team that captures and interprets the images of their bodies. With current technologies, imaging centers can do all of this on site, but what if there was an even more efficient way? Many diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, urgent care and medical facilities are choosing teleradiology, a digital outsourcing of medical images to remote locations, and there’s a few reasons why.

 

In an article published by Science Direct, teleradiology is growing in popularity for many medical offices, hospitals, and imaging centers across the country. With the use of electronic transmission of images, x-rays, MRIs, CT scans and other specialty images can be shared to a radiologist on the spot. Because of a shortage in radiologists across the country, and globally, says Radiology Society of North America, there aren’t enough specialists to fulfill patient needs, especially those with specific needs, such as pediatric or neuro-radiology. There has been a long term burnout from COVID19 for many medical professionals, especially radiologists, and medical facilities have become creative with their job listings, making them a hybrid of in-house and remote work. Their hope is that these types of jobs will be more appealing, making teleradiology even stronger.

 

tele-radiology services
A radiologist reviews an x-ray

 

Teleradiology alleviates the need for a radiologist to be in the room with the patient, and allows for interpretation, collaboration, or education of an image at any time, day or night. When a patient needs a radiologist immediately, an image can be sent to a professional via LAN line, across states, or across the country for input. This kind of technology eliminates worry about staff shortages and time zones, when many emergencies could occur.  It also eliminates the need for specialists to relocate, as many rural medical facilities do not have access to radiologists on demand, according to The National Library of Medicine. During medical emergencies, difficult cases, or a time-sensitive diagnosis, as many are, teleradiology makes the process speedier than ever before.

Economically, teleradiology is a great choice as well, for both medical facilities and patients. The cost of having a radiologist on staff could be very expensive, however, with teleradiology, the cost dramatically drops because the medical institution is only charged per exam. In an article published by News Medical Life Sciences, teleradiology is an effective way to provide high-quality specialized services to patients that may not have access to them otherwise.

When choosing the technologies to provide to patients, a diagnostic imaging center may benefit the most from teleradiology, where patients can count on the speed and excellence of not only the healthcare staff present, but the specialists working hard on their cases from everywhere else.

Award-Winning Teleradiology Company: Vesta

With Vesta Teleradiology, we work alongside your team to provide accurate interpretations. Additionally, Vesta works with you in terms of the style and format of the interpretation report adapting to your center’s interpretive mode.

Encouraging Your Male Patients To Get Screened

Studies show that men are more likely to develop an illness than women. They also die an average of 5 years sooner than women. Despite this, women go to the doctor twice as much as men.

June is Men’s Health Month, and as such, it’s important to highlight the struggles that men go through in healthcare. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to bring awareness to the health issues that men face. Medical professionals can encourage men to prioritize their health. 

Why Don’t Men Go To The Doctor?

In May 2022, the Harris Poll conducted a national survey of men across the United States. The survey took place for Orlando Health, interviewing 893 men aged 18 and older.

This survey aimed to gauge the mindset of the male population as it pertains to their individual health.

Men Believe They Are Healthier Than Others

According to this survey, 65% of men believe they are naturally healthier than others. Men may feel healthy in their day-to-day lives. Yet, there could be underlying conditions that aren’t caught without routine screening.

Unfortunately, with this mindset, men across the United States are going undiagnosed. 33% of the same men surveyed said they feel no need to visit the doctor for a yearly check-up.

Some of the most undiagnosed conditions include elevated blood pressure and colon cancer. High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke when left unchecked. Further, colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, but also one of the most deadly.

Men Value The Health Of Their Loved Ones Over Themselves

A key problem in society is that men learn to always put others before themselves. They don’t worry about their own needs. Men tend to be more concerned about the health of their spouses, their children, and their parents.

Dr. Movassaghi, a urologist and director of Men’s Health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, says:

“We’re Supermen: we don’t want to ever get sick. We’re […] told by ourselves or by our friends [that] it’s almost like a negative connotation to go to the doctor.” 

Men Don’t Feel Supported

There is a stigma behind men going to the doctor. This stigma is fueled or doused based on their loved-ones perspectives. Particularly the perspectives of the women in their lives.

The females in men’s lives offer the greatest support for a man’s health. Men are more likely to attend a doctor’s appointment if their daughters, wives, or mothers show concern. Additionally, men are more likely to book regular appointments if their mothers prioritized health for them as a child.

Men who avoid going to their doctor for routine screening may be lacking that extra support.

Men Don’t Want To Receive A Diagnosis

According to 21% of men surveyed, they avoid going to the doctor because they don’t want to be diagnosed. The fear of receiving a diagnosis is scarier for 1/5 of men than it is to ignore the problem.

Men Feel They Don’t Have Time To Go To The Doctor

People are taught that they should sacrifice everything for their jobs. As a result, men feel they don’t have time to go to the doctor.

Throughout society, men have been told they need to be the breadwinners. Even in a changing society, that mentality still persists. As such, men are reluctant to take time off work to attend much-needed health screenings.

The Real Picture: Men’s Health

Most men seem to believe they are healthier than others, but the numbers tell a different story.

According to the CDC:

  •     About 13.2% of men over the age of 18 are in “poor or fair” health
  •     40.5% of men over the age of 20 are obese
  •     51.9% of men over the age of 20 have high blood pressure or take medication for hypertension
  •     50% of Americans over the age of 65 will develop a form of skin cancer
  •     1/9 of men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime
  •     30.6% of men will experience depression in their lifetime

How To Convince Men They Need Screening

Medical professionals strive to put their patients first in all things. But, what about when your male patients show a reluctance to come to the doctor? How can you convince them to prioritize their health?

Offer TeleHealth Services

Most medical professionals prefer seeing their patients in person. It’s easier to assess their health. Yet, many men prefer attending doctor’s visits online. Many are more likely to schedule an appointment.

telemedicine

A MENtion It Survey of September took place in 2021. It found that men schedule an appointment every 1.5 years or less. Yet, 66% of the men surveyed stated that they had used TeleHealth services in the past 12 months.

Although, as a medical professional, you may need to do more to push your patients to come to see you in person. Still, Telehealth offers a good temporary solution. It gets your male patients “in-the-door” to get their health accessed.

Exhibit Compassion & Encouragement

Many men avoid going to the doctor because they feel it’s not necessary. Much of this mindset stems from embarrassment. Men feel that they should be invincible, so they feel they shouldn’t need to go to the doctor.

 

A fear of many patients — men and women — is not being taken seriously by their doctors. Many patients feel belittled when attending appointments. Or, they feel that their concerns aren’t taken seriously.

Patients who receive this treatment aren’t likely to return.

It’s important for medical professionals to show compassion for their patients. There are many reasons someone may not be taking care of their health. They may not have the time or the resources, or they are too embarrassed.

It is not the job of the medical professional to judge their patient. It is the job of the medical professional to respectfully address the patient’s concerns. They should encourage the patient to keep coming back for ongoing treatment.

Set Them Up For The Future

Many men feel they have too much on their shoulders. They need to take care of their family’s health and earn money to support their family.

Medical professionals can give their male patients a gentle reminder. To care for their families, they need to care for themselves first

It’s likely that a loved one has already pushed the patient to seek help for his health. Still, they sometimes need that extra push from a professional.

What Screening Should Men Receive?

There are several illnesses that men can receive screening for.

Yearly Check-Up

Most men don’t come in for a yearly check-up with their doctor, and this leads to illnesses going undiagnosed. Many illnesses are treatable when diagnosed early. Treatment becomes severely more difficult if the illness has already progressed too far.

 

Dr. Hendrickson of UT Health, says it’s difficult to stop or reverse an illness after the damage is done. This is especially true for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.

Blood Pressure

Heart disease is the number one killer among men. Death often stems from undiagnosed high blood pressure. Healthy adult men should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year for any changes.

Cancer

40.2% of men are at risk of cancer in their lifetime, with prostate cancer being the number one threat to men. This is followed by lung and colorectal cancer.

Cholesterol

Men with high cholesterol will be at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. So, all men over the age of 35 should have their cholesterol checked every two years.

men's cholesterol

Some men should have their cholesterol checked more frequently. This includes men who smoke, are obese, and whose family has a history of heart disease.  Those who have diabetes or high blood pressure should receive a screening more often as well.

Colonoscopy

It’s no secret that most people avoid having a colonoscopy, but it can be the difference between life and death. Every man should receive their first colonoscopy at the age of 45. They should receive later screenings every 10 years.

Depression

Mental illness has a stigma in our society, particularly among men. This is all the more reason to have your male patients screened for depression.

Depression affects your patient’s mental health, but also their physical health. It can increase the patient’s risk for heart disease and other serious conditions.

Diabetes

Men should have their glucose levels checked every year. 

Men who are more at risk for diabetes should be checked more frequently. This includes men experiencing symptoms like excessive thirst, frequent urination, rapid weight loss, or tingling in the hands or feet.

Prostate Exam

Most doctors recommend the first prostate exam at age 50. Although many men dread this exam, it’s important to prevent prostate cancer.

Conclusion

Studies show that men are more prone to illness than women, yet they seek help for their health about half as often.

June is Men’s Health Month, so it’s time for a reminder to advocate for men’s health.

Heart disease is the number one killer among men, and cancer comes in a close second. Medical professionals can help change that by advocating for their patient’s health. By encouraging your male patients to take charge of their health, you might be saving a life.

By partnering with a telemedicine company like Vesta, you are able to outsource your radiology requirements (in part, or fully), to our US Board Certified Radiologists so you can continue to offer quality healthcare to your patients. Learn more about how we work with a variety of healthcare facilities to support their staff and workflow: vestarad.com 

Hospital Supply Chain Challenges

The healthcare industry continues to experience supply chain challenges brought to the surface during the recent global pandemic. There are still medical supplies, equipment, devices, and labor shortages.

The shortages of supplies have had a domino effect on the stability of the healthcare system. The consequences of hospital supply problems have caused shortages in personnel, financial instability, and weakened the safety and quality of patient care.

Imaging

Imaging scans like x-rays, MRIs and CTs are vital to any healthcare facility. Unfortunately, there is currently a shortage of a crucial item needed for CT scans—the liquid called IV contrast. This contrast dye that assist doctors in diagnosing conditions from a scan has been in shortage since a Shanghai plant went into lockdown and as a result, hospitals are rationing imaging tests.

liquid called IV contrast

Hospital Personnel

Hospital supply chain disruptions have created shortages of personal protective equipment for the hospital staff. The situation forced teams of health care professionals to reuse single-use gowns, gloves, and protective masks during the pandemic because of the supply shortages.

The lack of protection added another layer of stress to the hospital staff’s jobs and eventually led to experienced health care workers leaving their hospital employment.

The expense of supplying the hospitals without the use of technology or other updated distribution methods has also caused a reduction of funds available to staff the hospitals adequately.

One example is the increased demand for medical imaging, with fewer active radiologists available for active patient care. To keep up with the market, many hospitals have turned to non-physician radiology providers despite many concerns about the quality of service. One solution to this is something Vesta provides: teleradiology. Our US Board certified radiologists are here to help fill in those gaps.

 

Hospital Financial Stability

The pandemic-induced demand for medical supplies created an imbalance of medical supplies in the supply chain and increased the costs. Hospital inventory procedures needed to change drastically out of necessity.

Instead of maintaining just enough reserves on hand to meet the hospital’s immediate needs, hospital administrators needed to address a change in supply priorities.

The administrators were required to manage specific supply-type demands and the expense of eliminating an increase in waste from expired stock that did not serve the present needs.

Patient Care–Safety and Quality

The delay of cargo ships transporting much-needed supplies, the lack of truck drivers to transport the supplies to the hospitals, and the rapidly decreasing personnel in the hospitals have greatly affected the care patients receive. Many hospitals have had to turn patients away because of their inability to provide adequate care.

 

hospital worker shortage

Possible Solutions

Hospitals are expecting that supply chain disruptions are not a temporary issue. There is a need to find solutions to the chain supply challenges through restructuring and designing more resilient systems for stable health care delivery.

One solution some hospital systems are implementing is to have more control over the delivery of supplies by making direct contact with manufacturers. These hospitals also use storage and distribution channels under their hospital control.

Multiple hospitals are also considering more system consolidation to increase the volume of supply purchasing to allow greater price bargaining. Some hospitals are working together to create a cooperative “just-in-time” model using a single distributor for many hospitals.

When the distributor delivers supplies daily to many hospitals, the hospitals are more efficient by reducing inventory to only the necessary items. Each hospital also eliminates much of the waste of outdated items.

The hospital’s financial gains overcome the financial risks of these changes by giving them more bargaining leverage with suppliers. The cost savings by system consolidation will also enable more available funds for additional personnel and direct patient care.

These system changes are possible through cooperative negotiations and the improvement of system technology. The hospital systems can take the challenges of supply chains experienced during the pandemic and improve their systems to avoid future problems and improve today’s health care system.

Advancements in Mammography

Mammography is one of the necessary tests physicians use to detect the early stages of breast cancer and other breast diseases. Fortunately, mammogram technology has advanced rapidly within the last few years and has positively impacted women’s health and wellness.

Radiological mammography has been in use through most of the 1900s, but the FDA didn’t approve digital mammography until 2000. The digital technology advancement opened up a whole new world for physicians to diagnose breast cancer earlier. Digital mammography accesses computer technology to enhance the X-ray images of the breast.

After digital mammography came into use, 3D breast imaging technology emerged in 2011. The 3D digital mammography (also known as 3D tomosynthesis) is where a technician takes multiple breast images from different angles. The technician then processes these images using computer software to create a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast.

With a three-dimensional reproduction of the breast, a radiologist can analyze the imaging slice-by-slice in great detail. This process has reduced many of the physician’s false-positive diagnoses given to women and reduced the stress of call-back appointments.

 

Since the 3D technology, companies have developed more advanced mammography equipment, tests, and computer-aided diagnosis systems (CAD). Researchers also have advanced imaging tools like whole breast ultrasound (WBUS) and magnetic resonance imaging  (MRI) to aid the mammography process.

 

Physicians may recommend patients perform regular year-to-year screening mammograms so any changes in the patient’s breast that may cause concern can be detected. A physician orders a diagnostic mammogram when the screening mammogram shows an abnormality or if the patient notes other extraordinary symptoms.

 

A diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram, except the technician will take more images using more positions to get more explicit photos of the area. A diagnostic mammogram can define if a biopsy is needed.

 

Throughout mammogram use, the human eye has been depended on to detect abnormalities in a patient’s breast X-rays, leading to false positives and false negative exams. With the advancements in equipment, technology, and software, radiologists can detect any abnormality in breast tissue with more certainty.

 

Increased research and equipment advancements in mammograms have also decreased patients’ exposure to radiation. Studies have concluded that the benefits of mammograms nearly always outweigh the potential harm from radiation exposure. However, patients should always disclose to the X-ray technicians if they are pregnant or have other health issues at risk by using any level of radiation.

 

Newer mammography imaging tests help physicians diagnose the smallest of tumors and most minimal cell defects. These tests include positron emission mammography (PEM), optical imaging, electrical impedance tomography (EIT), and molecular breast imaging (MBI).

 

Positron emission mammography (PEM) is a scan that uses sugar attached to a radioactive particle to look for cancer cells. This test is sometimes a replacement for an MRI.

 

detecting breast cancer

Optical imaging is a test where technicians monitor the light passed into the woman’s breast and compare it to the measurement of light passing through the breast tissue. An altered reading of light will detect an area of the breast that warrants further exploration. Researchers are using this test with MRIs or 3D mammograms.

 

Since breast cancer cells conduct electricity differently than normal cells, physicians sometimes use electrical impedance tomography (EIT) as a diagnostic tool. During the test, a technician passes a bit of current through the patient’s breast and looks for changes with small electrodes applied to the skin.

 

Another test that researchers have developed is molecular breast imaging (MBI). This test is used with mammograms for women who have dense breasts. Doctors inject a radioactive drug into a patient’s vein, and the drug attaches to cancer cells, and a special camera can locate those cancer cells through the imaging process.

 

Researchers are continuing their efforts to improve mammogram results. Safe and effective screening and diagnostic mammograms will continue to improve survival statistics for women no matter what their genetic makeup, family history, or any other risk factor may indicate.

 

 Vesta Teleradiology

At Vesta, our US Board Certified Radiologists are trained to read mammography scans as well as an entire host of other types of diagnostic imaging results. Look to us to support your team. Learn more about our teleradiology services here.

 

Are X-Rays Safe?

Over 125 years ago, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen made a monumental discovery that changed medical practices forever. He was the first man to see the results of using radiological rays as a non-invasive way to investigate inside a human being’s body.

With the help of Röntgen’s discovery of what is today commonly known as X-rays, medical science has been able to advance at an accelerated rate. In the modern world, just about every person has experienced having an X-ray in one form or another.

X-ray technologies have advanced at a staggering rate in the past 125 years, and so has their uses. Professionals depend on X-rays in dental offices, doctor’s offices, chiropractic offices, hospitals, urgent care, and other medical service facilities.

With the medical community using X-rays so frequently, the public must understand the types of radiation we encounter and the risks involved with radiation exposure.

The air we breathe, soil and water, rocks, and plant life all have radiation. Radon is natural radiation found in soil and can be potentially harmful to humans. Cosmic radiation (which includes X-rays) constantly penetrates the earth’s atmosphere and is all around us. Cosmic radiation is unavoidable but is at low levels.

We have no choice but to live with the natural and cosmic radiation exposure, but X-rays are a choice we need to evaluate.

When professionals take a diagnostic X-ray, the image reflects on the X-ray negative plate depending on how much radiation is absorbed. The reason bones appear white on the negatives is because bones have a high calcium content that absorbs the radiation.

 

x-ray

 

With all X-rays, ionizing radiation is used, potentially harming living tissue. Radiography is the most commonly used X-ray imaging and uses the smallest amount of radiation. Professionals use radiography to image bones, teeth, and chest X-rays.

Fluoroscopy also uses a small amount of radiation, but more than radiography. Professionals use fluoroscopy with barium drinks to watch how the body acts and reacts during digestion.

Computed Tomography, or CT, uses the highest amount of radiation. The higher radiation is because, during one procedure, the CT mechanism takes multiple X-rays.

If used appropriately by a professional, the benefits of having X-rays taken far outweigh any risk of radiation exposure. Using X-rays, medical staff can detect cancerous tumors, infections, and damaged blood vessels. The risk of developing cancer from the ionizing radiation of X-rays is small.

Even with the low risk of cancer from X-rays, patients receiving medical treatment involving radiation should ask questions and communicate their medical history to their provider. Also, when providers recommend X-rays for children, ask the technician to double-check that the X-ray machinery has been adjusted for a child. Risks are more significant for children than for adults.

Even though studies show the low dose of radiation from X-rays–when used appropriately—does not cause health problems, X-ray technology is improving every day. Researchers are discovering ways to reduce radiation dosage, improve imaging, and create better materials and methods of imaging.

 

Vesta Radiologists

We work with healthcare offices that provide x-rays as a diagnostic tool. We help them interpret their findings so they can continue to service their patients in a timely manner. Look to Vesta’s US Board Certified Radiologists to help take on any workload you need taken care of, nights, days and even weekends.

Promoting Arthritis Awareness

In the United States, arthritis is the leading cause of disability. Older adults are living longer, but as a result, chronic conditions like arthritis are increasing.

Arthritis symptoms vary from person to person. Testing and treatments performed by a medical professional will depend on the type of arthritis and the intensity of pain.

arthritis awareness

Osteoarthritis usually causes symptoms only in the joints and is generally caused by repetitive movements like heavy lifting, bending, or squatting. A person can also develop osteoarthritis in their hands and wrists from extensive use of a keyboard on the computer.

Other types of arthritis may display symptoms in places outside the body’s joints. Symptoms can include fatigue, skin irritations or rash, joint swelling, warmth, and redness in the area of body pain.

Patients should discuss any joint changes or discomfort with their physician, who will assess any swelling, tenderness, or loss of motion in the joint. If warranted, your physician may order X-rays, urinalysis, blood work, or extract a small amount of fluid from the affected joint for testing.

After the exam and review of the test results, your physician will be able to define more closely what type of arthritis (if any) you are experiencing.

Osteoarthritis can be detected by your physician from X-rays that reveal cartilage loss or detect bone spurs. Your blood, fluid, and urine tests will rule out diseases other than arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease diagnosed by rheumatoid factors (RF) in your blood tests. There is also an anti-CCP test which is a relatively new blood test.

The anti-CCP test measures levels of antibodies in the blood. This measurement can determine who has rheumatoid arthritis, or identify if someone is about to get rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-CCP can also predict the severity of the disease process.

How Physicians Help

Your physician’s goal is to control your arthritic disease process, help you maintain mobility, and relieve your discomfort and pain. Your physician will discuss with you if physical therapy, exercise, drugs, surgery, rest, or any combination of treatments may be options for you,

If you receive a diagnosis of arthritis, routine health care visits can allow a provider to communicate science-backed preventative measures that can slow the disease progression and reduce or prevent unnecessary pain for the patient.

A person can maintain healthier joints and improve their balance during their activities with exercise. Other health risks associated with inflammatory arthritis, like bone, heart, lung, and kidney complications, can also be reduced by staying active.

Studies have shown that older adults who engage in moderate physical activity of at least 150 hours per week experience less arthritic pain. Providers can help you incorporate joint-friendly exercises like walking, flexibility exercises, and light weight-lifting into your health and wellness plan.

 

working out

Weight loss can help with many medical conditions that adults experience and is especially effective for those patients with arthritis. The CDC estimates that 39 million adults with arthritis are overweight or obese.

Weight loss is the most effective non-drug way to manage arthritis and joint pain. Health and wellness professionals can assess, counsel, and support their patrons with individualized weight loss techniques.

Providers can also provide lists of arthritis education programs and activities. More access to these programs provide older adults, and adults of any age, with the most recent science-based information about arthritis.

Other treatments for arthritic pain include relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy, visualization therapy, acupuncture, herbal and Ayurvedic medications that have helped people with chronic arthritic pain. Dry and moist heat can also help with pain and stiffness.

Creative thinking and problem solving by professionals in the wellness fields can extend the quality of life and reduce arthritic disabilities. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential in most cases.

What to Do After Diagnosis

Patients who are diagnosed with arthritis may need to relax and work at a realistic pace that is different from the pace they are used to working.  Questions will continually come up and so will new medications and treatments. All of your health and wellness team members are essential in helping you to stay healthy, stay informed, stay flexible, and stay positive.

Recent Breakthroughs in Radiology and Imaging

Since the 19th century, radiology and imaging have been making breakthroughs in clinical practice, allowing for safer and more effective treatment for millions of patients. Recent breakthroughs have made the field of radiology more dependable, cost-effective, and practical.

In the healthcare realm, radiology has become the standard for modern equipment used for preventive care, surgical treatment, diagnostics, and more. Here are some ways radiology and imaging have expanded healthcare technology:

Imaging Tests Replace Invasive Surgery

Imaging tests have gone a long way to replace exploratory diagnostic testing and unnecessary invasive surgeries. Before radiology and imaging tests, medical professionals may have had a more challenging time identifying fractures, broken bones, infections, cancers, tumors, strokes, MS, epilepsy, etc.

Imaging tests help doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, and more visualize what’s happening inside your body using imaging scans like X-rays, MR scans, CT scans, ultrasounds, etc., without performing invasive surgery. Seeing what’s happening inside your body is an incredible superpower, which is how imaging tests have helped save millions of lives.

If you have to undergo surgical or dental procedures, imaging tests can help guide medical professionals for accurate results.

Scan for Cancer with PET/CT

PET scans combined with CT scanning allow medical professionals to look at your biological functions, metabolic changes associated with cancer, and changes to your organs. While radiation exposure is related to this process, radiology technology is working to reduce that.

Currently, healthcare providers work on limiting exposure using specific medications, lead aprons, and more. The payoff is detecting cancer much earlier than with traditional imaging and scans. Not only can these scans look for cancer, but they can also even monitor your chemotherapy treatment.

ct scan

Breast Cancer Screening with Digital Mammography

Digital mammography is a highly effective screening method for breast cancer, especially compared to traditional methods. Digital mammograms have proven to be more accurate, effective, reliable, and easier to share with other medical providers. 

CT Angiography Blood Vessel Imaging

Until recently, angiography was performed by inserting a catheter into an artery to inject a substance visible in an X-ray. This allows medical professionals to look for internal bleeding, blockages, and other health problems. This process can take a long time, require sedatives, and have a slight chance of bleeding or blood clots. High-tech CT angiography scans provide the same information without being invasive. Plus, the new process takes less than 30 minutes.

As radiology and imaging technology keeps experiencing breakthroughs, the impact on healthcare practice is definite. We can look forward to quicker, minimally-invasive diagnostic exams, more precise and more accurate images, and the ability to share scans instantly between providers.

For patients and providers both, this represents quick visits and satisfying results. Recent breakthroughs in radiology and imaging mean the process is safer, faster, and more cost-effective.

 Teleradiology

Teleradiology itself has been an amazing advancement in the medical field, allowing radiologists from anywhere in the world, the ability to receive and interpret scans. The US Board Certified Radiologists at Vesta are able to work with any healthcare provider to provide premlin and final interpretations, and we work nights, holidays and weekends to support your staff and operations. Contact us to learn more.