#438 – The Wire

  • CT is Enough for AIS: A JAMA-published study found CT scans might be sufficient for diagnosing patients with acute ischemic stroke, even though over 90% of these patients undergo both CT and MRI. Analysis of 246 AIS patients (50% CT, 50% CT+MRI) found that CT-only patients had lower incidence of death or dependence by the time of their discharge (42% vs. 48%) and a lower rate of stroke or death within the next year (12.5% vs. 19.5%).
  • Point of Care Coordination: Viz.ai announced a partnership with Hyperfine that will combine Viz’s intelligent care coordination platform and image viewer with the Hyperfine Swoop Portable MR Imaging System. The combined solution would route bedside MRI exams to neuro care teams, with the goals of decreasing time to treatment and streamlining clinical workflows. Given Hyperfine’s ability to expand MRI to new areas of hospitals and Viz.ai’s ability to support imaging-based care coordination (no matter where scans are performed), this alliance makes a lot of sense.
  • Mammography Screening’s Modest Overdiagnoses: A new study out of the UK suggests that mammography screening’s overdiagnosis rate might not be as high as some fear. Researchers analyzed data from 163k English women who participated in the NHS Breast Screening program (57K w/ breast cancer), finding that screening participants had a 9.5% overdiagnosis rate (3.7% when adjusted for self-selection), which the authors described as “at worst modest.”
  • Cleerly’s $192M Funding Round: Coronary CTA AI startup Cleerly just closed a colossal $192M Series C round, quadrupling its Series B efforts and catapulting its total funding to $249.5M. Armed with the new investment, Cleerly plans to build out its team, expand the software’s commercial reach, and support over a dozen ongoing clinical trials. The massive VC backing is a testament to Cleerly’s potential to identify early-stage and asymptomatic heart disease. 
  • Improving Follow-up Adherence: A new JAMA study found that referring physicians don’t follow at least 12.5% of recommendations in radiology reports, while detailing what makes recommendations more (or less) likely to be acted upon. The review of 598 radiology reports, found that recommendations were more likely to be followed if they (1) don’t include any contingency language, (2) do specify shorter recommended follow-up times, and (3) show evidence of direct communication between the radiologist and referrer. They also recommended using structured reports with dedicated recommendation sections and a system to classify and track loop closures.
  • MDD MRI Advantage: A new CARPL.ai-led study highlighted multidimensional diffusion MRI’s superior quantification and visualization of tissue microstructure, suggesting that MDD MRI could improve neurological disorder diagnoses. Analysis of nine existing MDD MRI studies revealed that the novel MRI technique’s microstructural tissue characterizations might be able to enhance clinicians’ ability to characterize a range of neurological indications (e.g. brain tumors, epilepsy, schizophrenia, MS, Parkinson’s, etc.).
  • 3M’s Healthcare Spin Out: After months of rumors that 3M was exploring options to offload its healthcare business, the company officially announced that it will spin out the unit as a standalone entity by the end of 2023. The new entity will include 3M’s wound care, dental, health-IT, biopharma filtration products ($8.61B in combined revenue last year), with the new structure designed to “make both companies well positioned to pursue their respective priorities.”
  • Mixed Self-Compression Results: A new study in European Radiology found that when women control their mammography compression (n=495; 245 w/ self-compression), they apply more force (114 vs. 102.5 daN) and achieve similar image quality compared to when technologists apply compression. However, women in the self-compression group didn’t achieve lower glandular dosage (1.90 vs. 1.93) and weren’t more likely to attend follow-up screening appointments, which have been seen as potential upsides of self-compression.
  • Total-Body Theranostics: Michigan-based theranostics startup BAMF Health reached a key milestone this week, scanning its first nine men with prostate cancer using United Imaging’s uEXPLORER total-body PET and Telix’s new Illuccix PSMA-PET imaging agent. The exams are one part of BAMF Health’s theranostics launch, which will start with patients with prostate cancer and neuroendocrine tumors this summer, and expand to a wide range of personalized treatments in the future (e.g. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiac diseases, endometriosis, chronic pain). 
  • Radiologists Start High: A new AMN Healthcare report revealed that radiologists’ starting salary jumped by 13.5% in 2021/2022 to $455k, giving rads one of the top starting salaries after gastroenterologists, urologists, and orthopedic surgeons ($474k, $510k, $565k).
  • Reconstructing Dynamic CTP: Deep learning image reconstruction may improve upon key challenges associated with dynamic CT perfusion. A team of Japan-based researchers applied DLR to 30 dynamic CTP scans and found that it reduced image noise by 20% (compared to iterative reconstruction) while still accurately capturing myocardial blood flow. That’s notable given that dynamic CTP is far superior to static CTP for measuring myocardial blood flow, but it also exposes patients to more radiation, forcing teams to rely on iterative reconstruction at the expense of image quality.

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-- The Imaging Wire team