Problematic Body MRI Discrepancy Rates and Errors

Previous studies have outlined disagreement between radiologists and inconsistent secondary interpretations of MRI scans. Researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Southern California Medical Center have recently published the first study to focus on secondary interpretations of body MRI evaluated by type of likely error. According to the journal article, up to 70 percent of body MRI interpretations have at least one discrepancy. Since most of these errors are cognitive, a push for sub-specialty trained providers to read these studies is crucial.

Interpretation errors, especially those in radiology, are particularly common with MRI scans. Pelvic and abdominal imaging are the most easily misread. These mistakes commonly lead to delayed or improper treatment plans. Discrepancy rates can range from two percent to six percent. Secondary interpretations can be as high as 56 percent, according to existing research.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed 357 secondary body MRI reports captured between January 2015 and December 2018 to determine the actual discrepancy rate. Initial reports were analyzed, and those with discrepancies were divided.

At least one discrepancy was identified in 246 cases, or 68.9 percent. A secondary discrepancy was found in 54 of those cases. Most differences were attributed to cognitive errors (68.8 percent), and secondary discrepancies, considered perceptual errors, accounted for 59.3 percent.

To thoroughly examine the reasons behind these discrepancies, researchers found that faulty reasoning (misclassification of the abnormality) was responsible for 34.3 percent of all instances, including 37.8 percent of primary discrepancies. Additionally, search satisfaction occurred with 37 percent of second discrepancies and 15 percent of overall discrepancies.

The team hypothesized that MRI scans were ordered to answer a specific question. Once that question was answered, the radiologist likely did not examine the rest of the scan for other abnormalities. The discrepancy rates are higher than what was previously reported due to several factors. General radiologists might be unaware of the MRI’s high sensitivity and ability to determine specific diagnoses. Body imaging frequently has the highest error rates, and double-reading by sub-specialists also increases the discrepancy rate.

Read the full article in the American Journal of Roentgenology for more information regarding discrepancy rates and errors. For all your radiation equipment repair needs, contact RadParts today. We have a vast selection of innovative repair solutions that can save you up to 50 percent or more.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PET/MRI Outperforms PET/CT in Cancer Scanning

German researchers conducted a study in an effort to investigate the difference between combining Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging compared to PET with Computed Tomography (CT).

The scientists published their findings in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, where they concluded that pairing (PET) with (MRI) is more effective at detecting lesions. This discovery yields a quicker, more effective use of centralized and whole-body staging in a single step. Moreover, it reduces the level of radiation exposure, making them ideal for younger patients.

PET/CT is typically the customary route in oncology imaging and staging due to its high sensitivity and resolution. However, PET/MRI offers higher soft-tissue distinction with lower radiation exposure. This combination has been prevalently dampened because there have not been enough significantly conclusive studies to exhibit both functionality and advantages.

The analysis was conducted by board-certified nuclear medicine physicians and radiologists who determined that PET/MRI made the process of discovering lesions and classifying them easier. Researchers noted that reduction in radiation exposure was perhaps the most significant advantage of PET/MRI over PT/CT.

Further studies are needed to improve the detection of nodules with PET/MRI; however, the scientists’ conclusions highlight the increasing potential of hybrid imaging with oncology diagnostics.

Read the entire study here. Looking to upgrade your linear accelerator or radiation equipment? The specialists at RadParts can answer your questions – contact us today.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Our mission is to provide high-quality, user-friendly, low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 or visit us on the web: https://www.radparts.com.

AI-based MRI Interpretation Assistants from Siemens Healthineers Cleared by FDA

Two additional Siemens Healthineers Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based software assistants in the AI-Rad Companion family have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), routine activities usually done by radiologists will now be completed by AI. 

Brain segmentations, volume, and deviations are automatically marked by the AI-Rad Companion Brain MR for Morphometry Analysis. The AI-Rad Companion Prostate MR for Biopsy Support automatically segments the prostate. This process allows radiologists to mark lesions. In turn, prostate biopsies are targeted.

Peter Shen, Vice President of Innovation and Digital Business at Siemens Healthineers North America, said, “These new AI-Rad Companion applications for MR exams in the brain and prostate regions will help physicians manage their workloads and achieve a patient-focused decision-making process to increase efficiency and improve the quality of care.”

Various brain segments contain grey matter (nerve cells), white matter (nerve cell connections), and cerebrospinal fluid. The AI-Rad Companion Brain MR for Morphometry Analysis supports brain volumetry, which involves measuring the aforementioned segments. This process facilitates a comparison between normal volumes; any irregularities could be signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, or dementia. Brain segmentation and comparison were typically performed manually or semi-manually before the new AI. Now, up to 30 brain segments can be read and then fed into a report where deviations from the norm are automatically marked. 

Similarly, the AI-Rad Companion Prostate MR for Biopsy Support automatically segments and marks the prostate’s outer contour in seconds. Again, this process was typically done manually or semi-manually and could take several minutes. Radiologists can now read the report, mark suspect areas, and forward the results to urologists. The targeted, AI-supported biopsies can be precursors to cancer or other diseases. 

Both software assistants are DICOM-compliant and can be used with many different MRI scanner brands, making integration effortless. 

Check out this article for more information.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributors of OEM replacement parts. We specialize in low-cost parts for repairing linear accelerator and radiation equipment. Contact RadParts at 877-704-3838 http://www.radparts.com

Varian and Siemens New Partnership is Showing Many Benefits for Both Companies

This month big news has hit the medical radiation industry with the partnership between Siemens Healthineers and Varian Medical Systems. Although, according to the German stock market, little change has been observed with Siemens AG, and Varian has made it very clear that Siemens is ready to revolutionize the industry to a new set of standards very soon.

One of the most evident benefits is the strength in adding additional mature products and hardware to the already robust lineup that Varian is well known for in the market. In 2019, Varian’s business held 55% of the global installed base, and with combining the two companies, this move alone will create a product line no other competitor will be able to match. Secondly, the new joint plans will allow for Siemens’ growth to offset the gradual decrease of demand for its imaging modality business (MRI, CT). Lastly, as a company, Varian has grown to a size that, without further investment in operations and new market channels, would not be successful, so this opportunity will allow them to grow and remain steadfast in this sector.

The hardware aspect has gained the most attention with the real jewel being that Siemens possesses its software business, hitting almost $600 million in sales during 2019. Recent plans for Siemens have begun channeling its digital strategy to tap into the most significant challenges that most healthcare providers are struggling with today. This newly formed partnership will allow a radiation therapy linac fleet management system that no other vendor can offer or compete. Read this article to learn more about the three substantial benefits of this merger.

External Components of the Linear Accelerator (LINAC)

The medical linear accelerator (linac) is a crucial piece of technology for the radiation oncology industry and is one of the most used machines in the field. The underlying principle of a linac is straightforward, but producing a consistent, stable beam of radiation and precise, sophisticated design for careful operation is essential.

A linear accelerator works by heating a filament that boils off a cloud of electrons; these electrons are then accelerated by an electric field applied between the filament (cathode) and a thin metal window (anode). The electrons then hit a target (where they produce Bremsstrahlung X-rays) or a scattering foil (to distribute an electron beam evenly.) 

Afterward, the beam can be shaped in the treatment head – a part of the LINAC machine. Below, we discuss the external and internal components of a Linear Accelerator.

External Components of a Linear Accelerator: 

Couch (Patient Positioning System) The couch supports and positions the patient during treatment. Modern LINAC couches allow for precise patient positioning for proper beam exposure, which can move on the x, y, and z-axis. More advanced couches may include the ability to allow a patient to be positioned to roll, pitch, and yaw.

Electronic Portal Imaging Device (EPID) The electronic portal imaging device forms an image using the MV treatment beam. EPIDs are valuable in tools for monitoring patient setup and quality assurance.

Gantry The linac is mounted on a rotating gantry that offers treatment from multiple angles.

kV Imaging System The kilovoltage imaging system consists of a kV X-ray generator and an electronic imaging device. Lower energies of the imaging system improve contrast, particularly when used to produce a cone-beam CT.

Stand Connected to the gantry, the stand contains electrons and other systems required for linac operation.

Read more on the internal components of Linear Accelerators such as the bending magnet, accelerating waveguide, circulator, and more.

RadParts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment. Our mission is to provide high quality, user friendly, low-cost parts for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. 

https://www.radparts.com  | 877-704-3838

Huge Breakthrough Made in the Development of Creating the Worlds Most Powerful Particle Accelerator

Researchers affiliated with UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) have demonstrated, for the first time, the ionizing cooling of muons. For those who work in the field, this is considered a massive step toward creating the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. The new muon accelerator is expected to provide a better understanding of the fundamental properties of matter.

The Muon Ionization Cooling Experiment (MICE) collaboration has been behind the breakthrough, including many UK scientists. One of the pioneers is Professor Moses Chung, who leads his team at the School of Natural Sciences at UNIST. His organization’s work has been featured in the online version of Nature on February 5, 2020.

“We have succeeded in realizing muon ionization cooling, one of our greatest challenges associated with developing muon accelerators,” says Professor Chung. “Achievement of this is considered especially important, as it could change the paradigm of developing the Lepton Collider that could replace the Neutrino Factory of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).”

These experiments have demonstrated that the phase-space volume occupied by the muon beam can be controlled with ionization cooling, as predicted by the field’s theories.

Read more about this leading breakthrough in particle accelerators, here.

New Cancer Treatment Delivers Weeks of Radiation Therapy in Just One Second

For decades radiation therapy has been used to treat cancer and is still the best option we have at defeating the disease. The downside to radiation therapy is that it often takes weeks or even months for treatment session cycles and comes with collateral damage by also destroying healthy cells in the body.

However, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a way to deliver treatment in under one second. FLASH radiotherapy is an emerging form of therapy that involves giving a patient a one-second dosage of concentrated radiation that they would usually receive over a week. Experiments have proven that the result of the cancerous cells is comparable to the standard treatment duration; however, the exception being that damage to healthy tissue is significantly reduced.

Pennsylvania University researchers found that adjusting the fundamental particle used could make FLASH radiotherapy more effective. Typically, electrons are used in therapy, but they don’t penetrate very deep into the body, meaning they’re really only useful for shallower cancer types such a skin cancer.

The FLASH therapy model uses protons and showed that linear accelerators could be modified to produce and deliver these particles. Since protons penetrate deeper into body tissue, they can be much more effective in treating more significant tumor types.

“The is the first time anyone has published findings that demonstrate the feasibility of using protons, rather than electrons, to generate FLASH doses, with an accelerator currently used for clinical treatments,” says James M. Metz, co-senior author of the study.

Read more on how FLASH treatment is making breakthroughs in treating cancer here.

Radparts provides high quality, user-friendly, and low-cost parts and support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. More information can be found at https://www.radparts.com.

The Average Life Expectancy of Elekta Linear Accelerator Parts

Over the past few years, companies that produce linear accelerators have been focusing on the service and maintenance areas as the primary source of their business plan. Not surprisingly, service contract sales have increased yearly for all linear accelerator companies. As this is beneficial to investors in this space, it doesn’t help the owners of the equipment and medical professionals that use them in their practice.

Many hospitals and clinics are looking for ways to decrease the cost of maintenance and service repairs. The cost of linear accelerator parts and servicing them can get quite pricey, and it can be quite easy to go over-budget very quickly. 

This article will break down the main components that will eventually need to be replaced or serviced in the Elekta linear accelerator and will assist those places looking to do their own maintenance. This will help lower the cost of maintenance and allow for more accurate budget forecasting. 

Below is the average lifespan of a variety of parts that will eventually need to be serviced or replaced and what you can expect of their overall lifetime value. 

Parts:

Magnetron: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 2 Years 

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 5-6 Years

Low use system (15 patients /day): 5-6 Years

X-ray Tube: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 18 Months                       

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 3 Years

Low use system (15 patients /day): 4+ Years

XVI Detector: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 5 years

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 7 Years

Low use system (15 patients /day): 10+ Years

iView Detector: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 2 Years

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 4 Years

Low use system (15 patients /day): 4 Years

Electron Gun: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 1 year

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): N/A

Low use system (15 patients /day): N/A

Thyratron Tube: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 3 Years

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 5 years

Low use system (15 patients /day): 5+ Years

Reflectors: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 2-3 Years

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 2-3 Years

Low use system (15 patients /day): N/A

MLC Camera: 

High use system (35+ patients /day): 2-3 Years (Old Type); Much Longer Now

Moderate use system (<30 patients/day): 2-3 Years (Old Type); Much Longer Now Low use system (15 patients /day): N/A

Depending on your Elekta linear accelerator, the magnetron has considerably different life expectancy expectations. New magnetrons usually are not equipped with a feedback system, which will need to be replaced with 3-4 years. The 18MV, however, is an older machine that has a feedback system that can last up to 10 years. 

The ion chamber of the Elekta part is sensitive to indoor climate and the region in which it is located. High humidity can shorten its lifespan by two-thirds, with a typical chamber lasting within four years and one in higher humidity levels as low as one year. 

High use on a linear accelerator can wear on the electron gun and may need to be replaced within a year, but if not used as frequently can last over six years. 

The thyratron tube is the part that produces the pulses to the electron gun and is one of the most critical components of any linear accelerator. Surprisingly the thyratron tube has a consistent lifespan regardless of usage. The baseline expectation is three years, with a possible stretch of five years if properly taken care of.

Daily patient volume significantly affects the X-ray tube’s lifespan, and lower levels of usage will allow several years of operation before needing to be replaced.

Newer models of the Elekta linear accelerator include Versa and the Infinity/Axesse. The VersaHD is still relatively new in terms of linear accelerator world, and many of its components still have yet to be determined for life expectancy. However, looking at earlier models can help gauge these expectations. 

As with all linear accelerators, usage levels will affect the lifespan of the individual components. The main factors that will affect your parts will be humidity levels, patient loads, and dose rates. 

If you need parts to your Elekta linear accelerator, visit Radparts.com. Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for linear accelerators and radiation oncology equipment.

Updates on the Radiation Markets with a Focus on LINAC

According to ResearchAndMarkets.com, a marketing research provider to businesses, the global radiation therapy market is expected to reach $10.11 billion in 2024, witnessing growth at CAGR of 3.38% over the period 2020-2024. Surging cancer cases, rising healthcare expenditure, economic and population growth with expanding urbanization are predicted to lead the global radiation therapy markets. However, a hindrance to these areas could be expected with stringent regulations and barriers to implementation. 

Advancements in technology, increasing preference towards non-invasive procedures, and public awareness, could be a few notable trends and are likely to develop over the next few years. The global radiation markets can be categorized into external beam radiation therapy, internal beam radiation therapy, and systemic radiotherapy. The external beam radiation therapy market is segregated both by type and device. 

Depending on the type, the global external beam market is segmented into the following categories: intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), tomotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic body radiation therapy, and proton therapy. The global external beam radiation therapy market is also categorized into three areas – LINAC (Linear Accelerators), proton beam therapy devices, and compact advanced therapy devices. 

North America is the fastest-growing market because of the evolving usage in novel technologies, rising disposable income, and healthcare expenses. Rising awareness regarding procedures and sophisticated diagnostic approaches is a big part of the growth in this market. Europe comes in second for the largest market in radiation therapy and has already expanded into deeper economic levels. Radiation therapy treatment products and linear accelerator parts are expected to grow along with the trend in these developing market economies. 

For more information, read more at https://www.itnonline.com/content/radiation-therapy-market-update-focus-linac

Scientists Create a Particle Accelerator That Fits on a Chip

Scientists at Stanford and SLAC have created a silicon chip that can accelerate electrons by using an infrared laser to deliver a similar energy boost that takes microwaves many feet.

In a January issue of Science, a team led by an electrical engineer, Jelena Vuckovic, conveyed how he carved a nanoscale channel out of silicon, sealed it in a vacuum and sent electrons through an opening while beams of infrared light were transmitted by the channel walls to speed the electrons along.

The accelerator-on-a-chip demonstrated in Science is just a prototype. However, Vuckovic said its design and fabrication techniques could be scaled up to deliver particle beams accelerated enough to perform cutting-edge experiments in chemistry.

“The largest accelerators are like powerful telescopes. There are only a few in the world and scientists must come to places like SLAC to use them,” Vuckovic said. “We want to miniaturize accelerator technology in a way that makes it a more accessible research tool.”

“We can derive medical benefits from the miniaturization of accelerator technology in addition to the research applications,” Solgaard said.

Click here to read more about Vuckovic’s research on his discoveries regarding the silicon chip accelerator.