#448 – The Wire

  • Can AI Solve Incidental PE’s Reporting Problem? A new study out of Sweden highlighted one institution’s significant challenges detecting incidental pulmonary embolism (iPE) in cancer patients, while showing how AI might be able to help solve this problem. Researchers reviewed 1,892 chest CTs from 1,069 cancer patients, finding iPE in 75 exams (4%), but only 16 iPEs that were reported to care teams (21.3%). When the researchers reviewed the same dataset using Aidoc’s incidental iPE AI algorithm, they correctly identified 68 out of the 75 iPE cases, while producing just 3 false positives.
  • Hackers Aim Small: Critical Insight’s 2022 Healthcare Data Breach report revealed that cybercriminals are refocusing from large health systems to smaller providers, as “specialty clinics” became the top source of data breaches in H1 2022 (31% vs. 23% of breaches in 2021). The report forecasts that cyber attackers will continue to target smaller facilities due to their greater vulnerability, and because these breaches generate less media attention and law enforcement escalation. Although the report didn’t define “specialty clinics,” imaging centers seem to qualify.
  • DL Pancreatic Lesion Assessments: A new Radiology study highlighted deep learnings’ potential to improve pancreatic cancer assessments. The researchers trained a deep learning model using CTs from 852 patients and tested it against two CT datasets (603 & 589), identifying lesions with high accuracy (AUCs: 0.91 & 0.87), while achieving high sensitivity identifying solid lesions of any size (98% & 100%) and cystic lesions measuring ≥1cm (92% & 93%). The model’s lesion detection sensitivity was comparable to the study’s two participating radiologists (solid lesions: 95% & 100%; cystic lesions ≥1cm: 93% & 98%).
  • Prestige Acquires MedServ and XRV: Prestige Medical Imaging (PMI) used its new private equity funding to continue its regional expansion, acquiring Ohio-based imaging dealer MedServ Plus and Virginia-based dealer XRV Healthcare. The acquisition solidifies PMI’s role as the Eastern US’ largest independent radiology service and solutions provider, noting that it’s “actively seeking” more acquisitions to further expand its portfolio and geographic reach.
  • FFR-CT Hubbub: A recent study revealed a diverse set of opinions regarding FFR-CT’s validity and appropriate use cases. In contrast to previous favorable FFR-CT results, the new UK-based study found that FFR-CT actually reduced the accuracy of CAD-RADS 2-4 grades from 91% to 78.4% (n = 245 patients). The study fueled a lively MedTwitter debate, with some commenters calling the poor results “totally unsurprising,” and others blaming the results on bad study design and incorrect comparisons (anatomy vs. hemodynamic flow).
  • Avenda Series B: Prostate cancer AI startup Avenda Health secured $10M in Series B funding that it will primarily use to expand its iQuest solution’s clinical evidence. iQuest uses deep learning to analyze MRI and pathology data, allowing clinicians to visualize prostate cancer for treatment and mapping tasks, while also supporting Avenda’s ultrasound-guided FocalPoint laser ablation system. FocalPoint is FDA cleared for soft tissue ablation, but iQuest and its use with FocalPoint are currently only allowed for investigational use. 
  • Physician Substance Use: APN’s Mental Health in Healthcare 2022 report revealed shockingly high levels of substance use among healthcare workers, with 14% of physicians admitting to drinking or using controlled substances while on the job. The survey of 1k healthcare workers found that 49% are either at their breaking point or seeking less stressful work, yet few of the respondents pursue mental healthcare due to perceived stigma and fear of getting their licenses revoked.
  • Body Composition for CRC Survival: A new AJR study highlighted automated CT-based body composition analysis’ potential to improve colorectal cancer risk assessments. Researchers analyzed 1,766 CRC patients’ pretreatment abdominal CTs using an automated AI-based system, finding that patients who died within five years had higher median abdominal aorta Agatston scores (620 vs. 182), as well as lower median muscle attenuation (19.2 vs. 26.2 HU) and subcutaneous adipose tissue measurements (168.4 vs. 197.6 cm2).
  • New Zealand Imaging Dispute: A dispute between New Zealand’s radiologists and surgeons is making headlines, as the country’s radiologists fight back against surgeons creating their own in-house medical imaging businesses. New Zealand’s Institute of Independent Radiologists (NZIIR) filed suit against the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC, which funds traumatic injury exams), calling for an independent review of how ACC is managing any referrals that aren’t “arm’s-length,” potentially cutting off funding for the surgeons’ new imaging businesses. 
  • BPE and Second Breast Cancers: A team of South Korean researchers found that breast MRI-based background parenchymal enhancement (BPE) can be used to identify women who are likely to develop a second breast cancer in the future. The researchers analyzed surveillance breast MRIs from 2,688 post-operative breast cancer survivors (109 developed 2nd BCa), finding that women with BPE present in their MRIs had a far higher risk of developing a second breast cancer within a 5.8-year median follow up period (Hazard ratio: 2.1).
  • Cortechs.ai’s Early Alzheimer’s Grant: Cortechs.ai landed a $1.35M, 2.5-year NIH grant to expand its Alzheimer’s assessment technology into clinical use. Cortechs.ai’s brain MRI-based Restriction Spectrum Imaging technique quantifies subtle microstructural changes that occur during Alzheimer’s early stages, allowing physicians to determine future AD risks, monitor disease progression, and evaluate treatment response.

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-- The Imaging Wire team