“Head CT Choice” Educates Parents of Children with Mild Head Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erik P. Hess MD MSc Professor and Vice Chair for Research Department of Emergency Medicine UAB Medicine | The University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Alabama 35249

Dr. Hess

Erik P. Hess MD MSc
Professor and Vice Chair for Research
Department of Emergency Medicine
UAB Medicine
he University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham Alabama 35249

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: 450,000 children present to U.S emergency departments each year for evaluation of head trauma.  Physicians obtain head computed tomography (CT) scans in 37%-50% of these patients, with less than 10% showing evidence of traumatic brain injury and only 0.2% that require neurosurgical treatment.

In order to avoid unnecessary CT scans and to limit radiation exposure, the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) developed clinical prediction rules that consist of 6 readily available factors that can be assessed from the history and physical examination.  If none of these risk factors are present, a CT scan is not indicated.

If either of 2 high risk factors such as signs of a skull fracture are present, CT scanning is indicated.

If 1 or 2 non-high risk factors are present, then either CT scanning or observation are recommended, depending on considerations such as parental preference, clinician experience and/or symptom progression.

In this study we designed a parent decision aid, “Head CT Choice” to educate the parent about the difference between a concussion – which does not show up on a CT scan – and a more serious brain injury causing bleeding in or around the brain.  The decision aid also shows parents their child’s risk for a serious brain injury – less than 1% risk in the majority of patients in our trial – what to observe their child at home for should they opt not to obtain a CT scan, and the advantages and disadvantages of CT scanning versus home observation.

In our trial, we did not observe a difference in the rate of head CT scans obtained in the ED but did find that parents who were engaged in shared decision-making using Head CT Choice were more knowledgeable about their child’s risk for serious brain injury, has less difficulty making the decision because they were clearer about the advantages and disadvantages of the diagnostic options, and were more involved in decision-making by their physician.  Parents also less frequently sought additional testing for their child within 1 week of the emergency department visit.

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Coronary CT Angiography May Be Best Approach to Chest Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof David Newby FRSE FMedSci Personal Chair - BHF John Wheatley Chair of Cardiology University of Edinburgh

Prof. Newby

Prof David Newby FRSE FMedSci
Personal Chair – BHF John Wheatley Chair of Cardiology
University of Edinburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are many tests that can try and determine whether a patient has heart disease. All are imperfect and do not directly see if the heart arteries are diseased.

This study used a CT heart scan to see if there was any heart disease in patients who presented to the outpatient clinic with chest pains that could be due to coronary heart disease. The doctor use the scan result to decide whether they had heart disease and how to manage the patient.

The study has found that if you use a CT heart scan then you are less likely to have a heart attack in the future. In the first year, you may require treatment with an angiogram and heart surgery (stent or heart bypass) but after the first year, you are less likely to need these treatments because the disease has already been treated promptly.

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PSMA PET/CT Can Map Prostate Cancer Recurrences With Very Low PSA Levels

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeremie Calais PhD Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division UCLA Nuclear Medicine Department Los Angeles, CA 90095Jeremie Calais MD

Ahmanson Translational Imaging Division
UCLA Nuclear Medicine Department
Los Angeles, CA 90095

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The only curative treatment for recurrent prostate cancer after radical prostatectomy is salvage radiotherapy. Unfortunately, current standard imaging modalities are too insensitive to visualize the location of the recurrence until it is too late. As a result, salvage radiotherapy is directed to areas only suspected to harbor the recurrence based upon a “best guess” approach according to standard guidelines that define radiotherapy treatment volumes.

PSMA PET/CT is a new imaging technique with sensitivity sufficient to detect and localize the recurrent prostate cancer early enough to potentially guide salvage radiotherapy.

The first sign of prostate cancer recurrence is a rising PSA. For salvage radiotherapy to be successful, it should be initiated before the PSA rises above 1 ng/mL, and ideally, closer to 0.2 ng/mL or lower. PSMA PET/CT localizes sites of prostate cancer recurrence in up to 70% of patients with low PSA, below < 1.0.

In the US it is not yet FDA approved and currently only used for research purposes. In our current study we included 270 patients with early recurrence of prostate cancer after surgery from Germany and UCLA,  we found that 20 % of the patients had at least one lesion detected by  PSMA PET/CT which was NOT covered by the standard radiation fields. Obviously, salvage radiotherapy is only curative if recurrent disease is completely encompassed by the radiotherapy fields and would have failed in these patients.

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Coronary Artery Calcium Found in 1/3 Women Designated “Low-Risk’

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Maryam-Kavousi

Dr. Maryam Kavousi

Maryam Kavousi MD, PhD, FESC
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus University Medical Center
Rotterdam The Netherlands 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The most recent American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend statins for a larger proportion of populations.

Notably, a large group of women are categorized as low CVD risk by the guidelines and would therefore not typically qualify for intensive management of their standard risk factors. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scanning allows for the detection of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis and is viewed as the vessel’s memory of lifetime exposure to risk factors. We therefore aimed to address the utility of CAC as a potential tool for refining CVD risk assessment in asymptomatic women at low CVD risk based on the new guidelines.

This study involved data on 6,739 low-risk women from 5 population-based cohort studies across the United States and Europe. We found that CAC was present in 36% of low-risk women and was associated with increased risk of CVD. Continue reading

Coronary CT Able To Exclude Significant CAD in Patients Scheduled for Valve Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Maksymilian P. Opolski Department of Interventional Cardiology and Angiology Institute of Cardiology Warsaw, Poland

Dr. Maksymilian Opolski

Dr Maksymilian P. Opolski
Department of Interventional Cardiology and Angiology
Institute of Cardiology
Warsaw, Poland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Valvular heart disease (VHD) that requires surgery is increasingly encountered in industrialized countries. Of particular interest, the presence of concomitant coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with VHD is related to worse clinical outcomes, and various clinical studies suggested that combined valve and bypass surgery reduces early and late mortality. Consequently, in the majority of such patients, pre-operative evaluation for coronary artery disease (CAD) with invasive coronary angiography is recommended. However, provided that most patients with valvular heart disease are found to have no significant coronary stenoses, coronary computed tomography angiography (coronary CTA) appears as an extremely appealing noninvasive alternative to invasive coronary angiography for exclusion of significant CAD. This is further justified when the risks of angiography outweigh its benefits (e.g. in cases of aortic dissection or aortic vegetation).

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Coronary Heart Disease: CT Scans May Reduce Tests, Procedures and Radiation Exposure

Pamela S. Douglas, M.D. Duke University School of Medicine Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC 27715MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Pamela S. Douglas, M.D.
Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27715

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Douglas: The primary objective of the PROMISE study was to compare the health outcomes of people who went to the doctor with new symptoms such as shortness of breath and/or chest pain that were suggestive of coronary artery disease and that required additional evaluation. This was an important investigation because no large research trial has ever been conducted to help guide the care of such patients. Instead, the selection of tests for such patients—which constitutes at least 4 million patients in the United States each year—has been largely left up to physician and patient preference rather than proven results.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Douglas: 10,003 patients from 193 different medical facilities across the US and Canada agreed to be part of the PROMISE study and  were randomized to a functional stress test or an anatomic test Using CT angiography.  The study found that the clinical outcomes of participants with suspected coronary artery disease were excellent overall, and were similar in terms of death and major cardiac conditions regardless of whether patients had a functional stress test or a computed tomographic scan. However, the CT scan may be better at ruling out the need for subsequent tests and procedures in patients who are free of heart disease, and involved a lower radiation exposure relative to a stress nuclear study. We also found, in a separately reported study, that the costs of the two diagnostic strategies were similar.

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CT Scan May Predict Risk of Second Stroke

Jeff Perry, MD, MSc, CCFP-EM Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Research Chair in Emergency Neurological Research, University of Ottawa Emergency Physician, The Ottawa Hospital Epidemiology Program, F6 The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus Ottawa, Ontario MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Jeff Perry, MD, MSc, CCFP-EM

Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Research Chair in Emergency Neurological Research, University of Ottawa Emergency Physician, Epidemiology Program,
The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Perry: Currently many patients with a TIA or non-disabling stroke have a subsequent stroke which may be very disabling or result in death prior to having all investigations completed and maximal stroke prevention implemented.  Prior to this study, the utility of CT findings for predicting subsequent stroke was incompletely understood in this patient population.

Dr. Perry:
Main findings: Compared to patients without ischemia, the probability of another stroke occurring within 90 days of the initial episode was:

  • 2.6 times greater if the CT image revealed newly damaged tissue due to poor circulation (acute ischemia);
  • 5.35 times greater if tissue was previously damaged (chronic ischemia) in addition to acute ischemia;
  • 4.9 times greater if any type of small vessel damage occurred in the brain, such as narrowing of the small vessels (microangiopathy), in addition to acute ischemia;
  • 8.04 times greater if acute and chronic ischemia occurred in addition to microangiopathy.

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FDG PET/CT May Improve Staging In Young Breast Cancer Patients

Gary Ulaner, MD, PhD Assistant Attending Radiologist Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Assistant Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical School Chair, Radiology Research CommitteeMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gary Ulaner, MD, PhD
Assistant Attending Radiologist
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Assistant Professor of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medical School
Chair, Radiology Research Committee

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ulaner: FDG PET/CT revealed distant metastases in 17% of asymptomatic stage IIB breast cancer patients below 40 years of age.   Although NCCN guidelines recommend against systemic staging in patients with stage II disease, our data suggests that PET/CT might be valuable in younger patients at earlier stages of disease than previously expected.
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Gout: Using CT Scan to Diagnose Difficult Cases

Tim Bongartz, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Rheumatology Mayo Clinic, MinnesotaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tim Bongartz, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Rheumatology
Mayo Clinic, Minnesota


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main study findings?

Dr. Bongartz:  Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) is an imaging methods that has been in use for many years to classify the material of renal stones. Our study demonstrates that this technology can be useful in identifying monosodium urate deposits in and around joint, allowing to diagnose patients with gout with overall high sensitivity and specificity. Importantly, a stratified analysis of patient subgroups revealed that DECT is less accurate in diagnosing patients with a first flare of gout, emphasizing the importance of careful patient selection when using this new technology. In a “diagnostic-yield” substudy, we explored the question how much DECT could contribute to correctly diagnose patients where clinicians did have a high level of suspicion for gout, but synovial fluid aspiration results came back negative. In about a third of these patients with negative routine testing, we could confirm a diagnosis of gout through use of DECT.
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