por Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | April 24, 2012
From the April 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“The benefits of contrast enhancement in ultrasound are just beginning to make headlines,” says Heagy. “In other words, IV contrast will be around for a long, long time.”
Lantheus is seeing good growth in the use of their ultrasound contrast agent, DEFINITY. And the company’s blood pool imaging agent, ABLAVAR is the first and only FDA-approved gadolinium-based contrast agent designed specifically for magnetic resonance angiography. ABLAVAR can help better characterize plaque in patients with peripheral arterial disease, without radiation and using a single low dose, according to Dr. Alexander Kagen, director of body MRI at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center.
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“These agents are valuable to cardiologists and radiologists,” says Dr. Mark Hibberd, senior medical director of global medical affairs and pharmacovigilance for Lantheus. “We believe that contrast agents will become more important in diagnostic medicine in the future.”
A number of new contrast agents, which will be tailored for specific procedures and organs, have recently been introduced. But Dr. James Wu, medical director for the imaging radiology department at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, Calif., says he is still wary of these agents.
“One of these products, intravascular contrast material, stays in the blood stream a little longer, allowing you to see the small vessel anatomy a little bit better,” says Wu. “On the other hand, there are some physiological concerns about this type of contrast material staying in the system for a longer period of time.”
While the use of these products remains low, Wu explains that certain types of contrast materials may be good for a limited subset of pathology.
“I’m not saying it’s not good in general for other types of studies, but the overall trend has been cautious from a radiologist’s perspective in terms of expecting new products to catch on,” he says.
Injector integration with PACS and EMR
The demand for injector integration with PACS and EMR has increased due to the current practice environment, which requires high efficiency in terms of linking info between all different types of study modalities. But, according to Heagy, the confusion around injector informatics capabilities and the perceived benefits to customers and patients has grown faster than the actual demand.
“As medical imaging looks to improve efficiency and productivity, we’re seeing customers searching for new solutions and more data to drive informed decisions, not just add to their data collection,” says Heagy.