por Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | April 24, 2012
From the April 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
But according to Marshall, the benefits of contrast agent utilization far outweigh the negatives and people have to be careful not to panic too soon.
“Many patients are literally dying to have a procedure done,” says Marshall. “They need something done right now; the fact that 10 years from now they might find that iodine was a little tough on their body parts doesn’t really matter. Tens of thousands of patients are being saved right this second by a procedure using contrast agents.”
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Another issue that Marshall sees cropping up time and time again is facilities blaming patient deaths on equipment, rather than “careless” staff members. As a contrast injector expert, Marshall has been recently involved with a lawsuit. He says a facility was trying to sue an equipment company for a patient’s death because they said the equipment “should have known better”.
“Sure, some new equipment has air-monitoring systems, but they aren’t perfect at doing their jobs,” he explains. “It’s very tough to monitor air through a fluid. These systems give technicians a false sense of security; they can’t just close their eyes and go on; they always have to be involved.”
Older systems like Medrad’s MARK IV Contrast Injector are actually safer than today’s technologically advanced air-detection systems, according to Marshall. Health care workers still need to do proper purging themselves: if they haven’t gone into the control room and set some basic settings correctly, then the system is not going to properly purge, he notes.
But, new systems include risk-conscious features to protect patients. At March’s European Congress of Radiology 2012 annual meeting held in Vienna in March, Covidien’s Mallinckrodt Imaging business globally launched the OptiVantage dual-head CT contrast media delivery system with Simultaneous Injection. This, combined with the company’s RFID-enabled Ultraject pre-filled syringes, results in reduced risk of air embolism from using empty, used syringes, and potentially reduces risk of infection from manually filling empty syringes, helping with regulatory compliance.
“Mallinckrodt continues to partner with our customers to offer effective solutions that optimize workflow efficiency, decrease certain risk while maintaining diagnostic accuracy, at the same time ensuring patient comfort and care,” says Pam Pollard, Covidien’s director of global product marketing.
But no matter how advanced a machine is, no two patients should be treated the same way. There are a few issues with correlating the physiology of a person to utilize the injector to its maximum potential, according to Wu. The kinks in this technology are still being worked out.