April 6, 2007 — Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. has developed three imaging techniques for its MR product line, including the Vantage systems, that allow for contrast free imaging during MRA procedures. Contrast-free imaging is particularly important because gadolinium, the common contrast agent used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) exams, recently has been directly linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, also known as nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NSF/NFD), a sometimes fatal disease that occurs in patients with renal insufficiency.
According to a study by Yale University, 95 percent of the study’s NSF/NFD patient pool had received gadolinium within three months of the disease’s onset.
“Toshiba has been at the forefront of contrast-free imaging since 1998 – long before reports of the negative effects of gadolinium,” said Bob Giegerich, director, MR Business Unit at Toshiba. “With Toshiba’s contrast-free imaging techniques, physicians can perform MRA procedures and capture images superior to those acquired through techniques that require contrast agents.”
Specifically, Toshiba’s equipment utilizes three proprietary contrast-free imaging techniques that can successfully perform MRA – fresh blood imaging (FBI), contrast-free improved angiography (CIA) and Time-SLIP.
Unlike traditional Time of Flight Techniques commonly used in the MR market, FBI makes it possible to image the arteries and veins at the same time, but displays them separately, which allows physicians to more accurately diagnose diseases that may have both arterial and venous components. CIA is the second generation of FBI techniques developed by Toshiba and allows for imaging of small vessels, making it possible to diagnose disease before it manifests in the larger vessels. By identifying the disease process early, prognosis is improved. Time Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse (Time-SLIP) was developed by Toshiba in 2001 and is a unique method that allows for noninvasive imaging of the vasculature, especially renals.
A number of U.S. sites are using Toshiba’s contrast-free imaging techniques, including Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging (SDMI) in Las Vegas .
“Contrast-free imaging has gone from a research and investigational tool to a practical application and continues to grow,” said Dr. Mark Winkler, M.D., professor of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada , Las Vegas and founding partner of SDMI. “Specifically, Toshiba’s Time-SLIP technique produces much higher quality renal MRAs than conventional contrast enhance techniques. This is important because these studies are often performed in patients with impaired renal function.”
For more information, visit www.medical.toshiba.com.