#425 – The Wire

  • Us2.ai’s CE Mark and Multi-Modal Patent: Us2.ai continued its momentum, achieving its European CE Mark and a U.S. patent for using AI analysis of echo images combined with cardiac biomarkers for heart disease diagnosis. With its CE Mark, the Us2.v1 solution can now automate echo reporting in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and 32 European countries. That’s quite a commercial presence for a company that was working on these approvals a year ago and just completed its Series A several months ago. It should also provide a major boost for Us2.ai’s ambitious global expansion plans.
  • MRI CVD Markers: Analysis from the multigenerational Framingham Heart Study revealed that high thoracic aortic wall area (AWA) and arterial plaque volumes could serve as MRI-based biomarkers for future cardiovascular events. Researchers analyzed baseline MRIs from 1,513 middle-aged adults, finding that higher AWA and plaque were correlated with future CVD events (~13-year hazard ratios: 1.20 & 1.63), with elevated AWA most closely linked to stroke (HR: 1.32) and plaque volume to heart disease (HR: 2.20).
  • Surgeon General Takes on Burnout: The U.S. Surgeon General issued a call to collectively address rising healthcare worker burnout and resignations. Dr. Murthy’s burnout recommendations include: (1) involving workers in process and culture improvement initiatives; (2) eliminating punitive policies for seeking mental health care; (3) ensuring sufficient compensation, labor levels, and safety; (4) reducing administrative burdens so workers can focus on patients; (5) prioritizing social connection & community as healthcare system core values; and (6) increasing public health focus on social determinants of health.
  • UCLA’s ETT AI: UCLA researchers developed a deep learning model that was able to accurately confirm endotracheal tube (ETT) placement on chest X-rays. Using 512 test CXRs (285 w/ ETTs), the model detected 95% of scans with ETTs and 97% without ETTs, while accurately identifying 86% of scans with correct ETT tip placements. The model’s automatic alerts, which indicate that the ETT was misplaced or not detected, achieved an 83% PPV and 98% NPV.
  • Ultrasound-Guided Immunotherapy: MD Anderson researchers developed a new cancer immunotherapy platform, Microbubble-assisted UltraSound-guided Immunotherapy of Cancer (MUSIC), which uses ultrasound to identify tumor location and ultrasonic frequencies to pop microbubbles filled with anticancer immunotransmitters. MUSIC eradicated 60% of tumors in breast cancer mouse models, and when used as a combination therapy with an anti-PD-1 antibody, it helped control primary tumors and decrease disease progression. The combination therapy also increased median survival by 76% compared to either therapy alone. 
  • Visage Adds Allina Health: Visage Imaging added Allina Health to its growing list of Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging IDN clients, announcing a 7yr/$28M contract that will replace several PACS brands. Allina Health will deploy Visage 7 and the Visage 7 Workflow module via the public cloud, with initial go-lives targeted for the second half of 2022.
  • Ramping Up Radiation Research: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposed significantly more research into the risks of occupational low dose radiation (LDR) exposure, calling for a 15-year study period and a $100M annual budget. This major research project would explore LDR’s role in cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and other disease risks, while better defining the impacts of radiation doses, dose rates, types of radiation, and exposure duration.
  • CAC’s Statin Guidance: A new JACC study suggests that CT-based coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores are more effective for guiding statin therapy decisions than risk-based PCE scores (the current standard). The researchers provided physicians with either CAC or PCE scores to assess 540 patients, finding that the physicians were more likely to apply CAC scores to their statin recommendations than PCE scores (88% vs. 75%) and patients in the CAC group were far more likely follow their doctors’ orders after three months (62.2% vs. 42.2%). By the one-year mark, patients in the CAC group had superior statin adherence, lower LDL-C levels, and similar or lower healthcare costs.
  • DiA & ScImage: DiA Imaging Analysis announced a partnership with ScImage, combining its LVivo Seamless AI-based cardiac ultrasound analysis system with ScImage’s PICOM365 cloud enterprise imaging platform. LVivo Seamless selects the optimal cardiac ultrasound images and generates clinical indications of left and right ventricle function to aid clinician assessments. The alliance bolsters ScImage’s cardiac ultrasound capabilities, while further expanding DiA Imaging Analysis’ growing list of PACS and ultrasound partners (also: Change Healthcare, GE, Philips, Konica, Terason, SonoScape, Circle CVI, Watson Health).
  • Pylarify PSMA Staging Evidence: In a recent Radiology Journal study, PET scans using the Pylarify PSMA radiotracer outperformed conventional imaging techniques (bone scan & CT w/ or w/o multiparametric MRI) for staging intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer. Among the 108 participants, Pylarify PET achieved higher detection rates for nodal (34% vs. 11%) and distant metastasis (22% vs. 10%), while altering staging for 43 men and treatment plans for 24 men (40% & 22%).
  • Hospital Margins Decline: Kauffman Hall’s latest National Hospital Flash Report shows that declining new patient visits and rising expenses contributed to the fourth consecutive month of negative hospital margins, which averaged -3.09% in April. System revenues fell 7% following a 5.7% month-over-month decline in patient days, reversing the modest rise in patient volumes recorded in March.

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-- The Imaging Wire team