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5 Things to Remember When Deinstalling A CT Scanner

October 08, 2020

Deinstalling large pieces pieces of medical equipment like a CT scanner can be a tricky task. This article will explain the deinstallation and removal process and the things to keep in mind.

How does the deinstallation and removal process work?

You'll need to talk to the seller to arrange a pickup time and date for the CT scanner. You must experience removing a CT scanner.  If not, you'll definitely need to hire a specialist team to help deinstall and remove your CT scanner from the facility on the specified day – it certainly isn't a one-person job.  There are several qualified companies that specialize in this work that you can contract with.

The specialist team will be equipped with the right expertise and tools to carry out the deinstallation and removal process. They will be guiding a pretty heavy CT scanner through the building, so this will require a great deal of planning and coordination.

The storage facility's doors and windows will need to be measured to see whether the CT scanner will fit through easily. If not, the windows and doors will have to be removed. 

The specialist team will start the process by placing protective fabrics like mylar paneling along the exit route to prevent damage when moving the CT scanner through the building.

You'll need to coordinate with the facility's construction or engineering team to ensure the CT they power down the CT scanner and remove any electrical cables to make sure there is no chance of power coming through and harming the team members.  

The team will then detach the gantry and the CT table, and then dollies/wheels will be put onto the CT scanner components to maneuverer them through the building trouble-free.

The team will have a large truck and forklift or crane on hand. The forklift or crane will lift the CT scanner into the truck safely, where it will be secured for the journey ahead.

After the deinstallation process, the CT scanner can be transported and installed into the desired facility.

Things to keep in mind

1. Get a hold of the building floor plan – The team will use a building map to plan the exit strategy before the removal, preventing the team from getting confused during the day.

2. General organizational skills – plan every single aspect of the deinstallation and removal process to ensure that it runs smoothly: a) An easily accessible parking space near to the exit will make things easier. b) The team will plan which equipment/tools are required for the process. Some specialist teams will use a forklift, a crane, or both!

3. Health and Safety – The team should turn the CT scanner off; remove the electrical cables, and then secure the electrical box. Hopefully, all these things will help to prevent an injury by electrocution.

4. Don't damage the storage facility – Make sure that the room and exit route has been covered in the protective lining so that the walls/floor aren't damaged while the CT scanner is moved through the building. Also, the team should clear any mess they left in the room due to the process.

5. Communication - Communicate with the storage facility representative to ensure that both parties understand the deinstallation and removal plan.

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Severe COVID-19 Patients Have Abnormal Brain Scans

October 03, 2020

Past research has shown that the coronavirus family can leave a lasting impact on the human brain. Coronaviruses can impact the brain by replicating inside the brain cells or by causing an autoimmune response, and it has been reported that coronaviruses can cause encephalitis-like syndromes in some rare instances. This just shows that past coronaviruses had brain-related consequences and this could be suggestive of how SARS-CoV-2 operates.

There is little data on the brain-related aspects of COVID-19 because SARS-CoV-2 emerged as a new member of the coronavirus family. However, COVID-19 patients are already reporting neurological symptoms. Some patients are feeling disoriented, nervous, and confused. These brain-related consequences of COVID-19 need to be urgently researched.

In June, researchers from the University of Strasbourg in France published a study in Radiology. The researchers wanted to find out if there were any brain abnormalities in severe COVID-19 patients.

The study was conducted on severe COVID-19 patients and ran from the 23rd of March to the 27th of April 2020 in 16 French hospitals. The researchers looked for brain abnormalities in patients with MRI technology. The patients were given gadolinium-based contrast materials for their MRI scans and then three neuroradiologists assessed the MRI images.

In regards to the MRI images, the researchers found that severe COVID-19 patients had lesions in specific regions of the brain (medial temporal lobe, white matter, and hemorrhagic lesions). Many of the patients had hemorrhagic lesions. Intracerebral hemorrhagic lesions were linked to disease severity, as those with hemorrhagic lesions were more likely to have an advanced disease stage. Furthermore, it was found that 27% of the patients had encephalopathy and 68% had high levels of inflammation markers in their blood.

“We report 37 patients with COVID-19 and abnormal brain MRIs (excluding ischemic infarcts). Three main neuroradiological patterns could be distinguished, and the presence of hemorrhage was associated with worse clinical status. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in the CSF only in one patient, and the underlying mechanisms of brain involvement remain unclear. Imaging and neurological follow up has to be undertaken in order to evaluate the prognosis of these patients,” said the authors of the research paper.

So, it seems that the researchers found that severe COVID-19 patients do have brain abnormalities as a result of coronavirus, but the researchers are not sure why this is the case yet! Doctors and researchers need to closely monitor the neurological aspect of COVID-19 as this will help them find out more.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels


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What Is an MRI and How Does It Diagnose Diseases?

October 01, 2020

MRI which stands for magnetic resonance imaging is a piece of medical equipment used to take images of bodily structures for a medical diagnosis. MRI machines can be used to take images of the brain, heart, liver, musculoskeletal system, and much more.

MRI machines are non-invasive and radiation-free; they don’t depend on x-rays for medical imaging. MRI machines use a strong magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer to develop images instead.

MRI machines can take image slices from different angles known as planes. The planes used in MRI scans include:

  • Axial – separate the top from the bottom.
  • Sagittal – separates the left and right side.
  • Coronal – separates the front from the back.  

Then the specialized computer can stitch the image slices together to create the 2D and 3D images. Paul C. Lauterbur invented MRI technology in the early 1970s. Peter Mansfield later became involved with the project and helped to further advance MRI technology. The initial MRI machines were established in hospitals by the 1980s. In 2003, the pair were honored with a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their outstanding invention which later changed the world. 

In the 1980s, there were only 12 MRI machines available around the world. As the years passed, there was a huge surge in the number of MRI machines. Nowadays there are more than 11,900 MRI machines in the US alone.

How does the procedure go?

Patients will need to remove all metal from their bodies for the MRI scan; this means that those with metal implants or pacemakers can’t have an MRI scan because the metal from these devices can interfere with the MRI’s magnetic field.

The patient may require contrast materials for their MRI scan. Contrast materials are quite safe; they can be ingested, injected intravenously, or administered by enema. Contrast materials make it easier to distinguish between different body structures and to determine the presence of abnormalities because it makes the image brighter.

The patient will be asked to lie on the MRI table, and then at some point, the table will be prompted to move into the donut-shaped MRI machine where the MRI scan will happen.

The patient will use a radio frequency coil designed for the specific type of MRI scan they are doing. For example, a brain scan will require a coil for the head; a chest scan will require a coil for the chest, and so on.

The images can’t be made without using the specific coil. Let me explain why! When radio waves are released by the patient’s body; this information is picked up by the specialized coil and sent to the computer to create the MRI images. So it’s a really important part of the process.

Patients must lie still in order to produce the best images possible. Children might be sedated or given anesthesia before the MRI scan for that exact reason. If the child isn’t sedated/ under general anesthesia, the MRI technician can put a movie on to divert the child’s attention and help them to relax.

How long does an MRI take? The MRI machine will take anywhere between 15 minutes and 1 and a ¹/₂ hours. However, this will vary depending on the size of the area and how many images the MRI technician takes.

What are the possible side effects?

The patient may experience side effects after the MRI scan. This may happen because the patient has reacted to the contrast material (if any was used for the MRI scan).

Signs you might be reacting to the contrast material:

  • Itchy skin and redness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Hypotension
  • Acute bronchospasm

Interestingly, a reaction to the contrast material can happen more than 30 minutes after the MRI scan, so it’s important to remain aware even after the scan. Some patients are more likely to suffer from a reaction than others; these are people with pre-existing health conditions.

Reactions to contrast materials can be recognized, prevented, and even treated. So, the patient should inform their doctor if they notice any side effects after the MRI scan. American Family Physician has explained in more detail how a reaction to contrast materials can be treated and prevented in their research article.

Does an MRI actually work?

Several studies have backed the use of MRI scans to help diagnose diseases affecting various body systems. MRI machines have been tried and tested and are now a part of the healthcare system, you’ll find an MRI machine in each and every hospital you visit because they are extremely useful.

Brain scans allow doctors to observe for visible brain damage like lesions, structural abnormalities, and changes in the quantity of white and grey matter. So, brain scans are very useful and can help to diagnose brain-related diseases including multiple sclerosis, strokes, Alzheimer’s, tumors, etc.

Blood vessels can be imaged with magnetic resonance angiography. This technique can help to determine the state of the blood vessels. Doctors will look out for narrow blood vessels, aneurysms, blockages of the blood vessels, and any other irregularities. These irregularities can be indicative of health conditions like atherosclerosis, aneurysm, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Also, an MRI could be done to observe the patient’s musculoskeletal system for any damage. Again, the MRI scan will be able to show any abnormalities in the bone or muscles like broken bones or fractures, tumors, inflammation, and joint problems associated with arthritis can also be monitored.  

MRI advancements

MRI technology has reached new heights since being first developed back in the 1970s. There have been advancements such as open MRI machines, stand-up MRIs, portable MRIs, and even MRI machines paired with AI. Many more MRI advancements are currently in the pipeline, it will be interesting to see what researchers do next.

To read more about MRI scans using AI, click here.

Old MRI?

Do you have an MRI that you need removed or sold? Mazree specializes in helping hospitals sell, deinstall, and remove your MRI. Contact us today.

Cover Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay 


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CT Scans Predict Long Term Outcomes in Colorectal Cancer Patients

September 25, 2020

Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in men and women around the globe. According to cancer.net, 147,950 people will be given a colorectal cancer diagnosis and 53,200 people are likely to die due to colorectal cancer in the US this year.  

In order to improve the survival rate of colorectal cancer patients, diagnostic tools should be further improved to ensure a rapid and accurate diagnosis.

Doctors usually take a biopsy from the patient and send it off to the laboratory. The laboratory technicians will perform tests on the biopsy to find out if the patient has colorectal cancer. If the biopsy can’t be done, then other tests will be used such as colonoscopy, physical exam, molecular testing, blood tests, etc.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina assessed whether CT scans and staging could be used to determine the long term outcomes in colorectal cancer patients. The team of researchers published their findings in Abdominal Radiology.

Histological tests were used to confirm the colorectal cancer diagnosis. Then the researchers looked through the medical information of 91 patients aged 18 – 40 years old. The researchers specifically reviewed the symptoms, treatments, CT scans, staging, and outcomes in the first year and fifth year over a 10 year period. This was done to find out if CT scans and clinical staging had any association with the patient’s outcome.  

“Most patients had large tumors on imaging, increasing the likelihood of identification on CT. Patients with tumors in the rectum, colonic obstruction, or with enlarged lymph nodes or liver masses at initial CT were more likely to have an advanced surgical stage and poor prognosis. A majority of patients presented at an advanced stage, most commonly stage 4A, and had progression of disease at follow-up,” said the authors of the research paper.

In the research paper, they also detailed the survival rates for colorectal cancer patients. The researchers found that the 5-year survival rate was 39.9% for colorectal cancer patients. However, as the disease stage advanced, the survival rate dramatically reduced in the patients.

This research suggests that CT scans could be very useful in identifying colorectal cancer and predicting the patient’s outcome when used in the early days. The researchers believe that CT scans could be a great initial step used to find colorectal cancer, but they suggest that further experimental studies should be conducted in larger and more diverse groups of people to determine whether the patient outcomes are similar to this study. 

Image created by Jason Robert Young (CC BY-SA 4.0)


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How Does a CT Scan Work?

September 25, 2020

What is a CT Scan?

A CT scan (computed tomography) is a medical imaging device used all around the world. It is used to diagnose diseases, monitor disease progression, and to screen for diseases.

In the US alone, approximately 80 million CT scans are done each year. This is a stark contrast to 1980 when only 3 million CT scans were performed. As you can see, the demand for CT scans has skyrocketed in the last 40 years or so. To learn more about the history of CT scans read the article by the International Society for Computed Tomography.

The CT scan machine emits x-ray beams from various positions around the patient. Then image slices can be patched together using the computer system to create 2D or 3D images of the target region. This way the bodily structures can be clearly visualized with the CT scan.

Many body parts, including the heart, lungs, bones, and much more can be visualized with a CT scan. The CT scan is helpful because it can highlight broken bones, restricted blood flow, tumors, and organ damage.

The patient’s treatment will be decided depending on the CT scan images, so it’s an important piece of equipment, to say the least.

The CT Scan Procedure

You will need to remove any metal items from your body including jewelry or clothing with metal pieces because it can interfere with the CT scan. You will be given a gown to wear for the CT scan or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose.

For the CT scan, you may need to have contrast materials. Contrast materials are used to make the bodily structures easily visible. Contrast materials can be injected, ingested with a drink, or administered by enema. Contrast materials are safe; they are only used to make the images clearer.

You might be asked to fast for your CT scan if you need to use a certain contrast material. Your doctor will let you know in advance if you need to fast or not.

During the scan, you might be asked to lie on the table facing upwards, downwards, or sideways depending on the imaging region.

The imaging technician will leave the room and begin the scan from an adjacent room called the control room. The imaging technician will be able to see and hear you through the glass window and intercom.

You will then be passed through a donut-shaped machine (this is the CT scan machine). It is important that you remain calm and lay still so that the images don’t come out blurry. Be aware that the imaging technician may ask you to hold your breath at some point during the CT scan, so keep an ear out.

The whole process of taking images with the CT scan should only take 10 to 20 minutes but may take longer in some circumstances.

After the scan, you might be asked to wait an hour or so if you used contrast materials. This is to ensure you don’t experience any adverse side effects related to the contrast materials.

The contrast material will not permanently stain your organs; it will be absorbed by the body or will leave your system hours later through urine. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water may help to flush it out of your system.

The imaging technician will send your results to your doctor. Then at your next appointment, your doctor will explain the scan results to you and the next steps required for your treatment.  

Are there any side effects?

CT scans are very quick and easy to do. Each year millions of people in the US have a CT scan because the benefits outweigh the risks. As with any medical equipment, there are side effects associated with CT scans. It is quite a safe piece of equipment, but it is important to remember that there is a small radiation risk.

Some patients have reported side effects from the contrast reagent including a rash, flushing, nausea, and vomiting. These adverse reactions are more likely to occur if you have health conditions like asthma or cystic fibrosis, a gastrointestinal blockage, or if you are dehydrated.  

Furthermore, kidney complications may happen because of the contrast material in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions. Therefore, individuals with kidney conditions will have a special assessment prior to the CT scan.

Unfortunately, CT scans may slightly increase the risk of cancer. The risk is less than 1 in 2000 of getting cancer from the CT scan. So, the risk is fairly low but it does depend on other factors.

Can I have a CT Scan?

Pregnant women won’t be recommended CT scans because there is a small risk to the baby. Therefore, alternatives will be sought out unless there is a substantial need that outweighs the potential risks.

Those that are allergic to contrast material should notify the medical staff immediately.

Breastfeeding mothers that require contrast materials for their CT scan should not breastfeed for at least 24 hours. This is to ensure the contrast material is not in the breast milk and potentially passed onto the child.

Individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions may be at risk of contrast-induced nephropathy due to the use of iodine-based contrast materials. Due to this, they should talk to their specialist and explore the options together.

Old CT Scanner?

Do you have a CT scanner that you need removed or sold? Mazree specializes in helping hospitals sell, deinstall, and remove your old CT scanner. Contact us today.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 


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How to Understand Your Vital Signs

September 17, 2020

The vital signs monitor is a lightweight medical device that can give elaborate information about the patient’s health and wellbeing. The vital signs monitor shows whether the body is working normally as it can provide information about the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, temperature, and respiration rate. There are also some advanced vital sign monitors that can even check your blood glucose levels, exhaled CO₂ levels, and much more. These medical devices can be found all over hospitals, they are used in emergency rooms and for normal check-ups.  

Physiological patient monitoring has been in the works for ages. In the 1600s, Santorio Santorio was tinkering around and managed to create the pulsilogium. The pulsilogium was a medical device that was intended to measure the pulse rate. In 1950, a device called the cardiotachoscope was being used by Himmelstein and Scheiner during surgeries to record ECGs. It was only after the 1960s that on-screen information was made available on patient monitoring devices. Then in the 2000s, the devices were connected to the internet.  

During the patient’s stay at the hospital, it is important that health workers can monitor their health. The vital signs monitor will help the health workers decide which treatment is the best option for the patient. Therefore, the vital signs monitor can provide invaluable information about the patient.

Are my vital signs normal?

The healthy ranges for each vital sign will be different for each person depending on their gender, weight, age, and any underlying health complications. However, there are rough ranges for each vital sign.

Heart rate

The heart rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute. Adults usually have a resting heart rate in the region of 60 – 100 beats per minute (bpm). Healthier individuals will have a lower heart rate. As an example, athletes can have a heart rate between 40 – 60 bpm. 

Oxygen levels

Oxygen levels measure how much oxygen there is in the body. The healthy oxygen levels are in the range of 95% – 100%. If the blood oxygen levels are less than 90% this is indicative of hypoxia. In other words, the patient has very low levels of oxygen in their body.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure measures the force of blood in the blood vessels. There are usually two numbers about the blood pressure on the vital signs monitor, the diastolic pressure and systolic pressure. The systolic pressure is usually the first number; this is the blood pressure when the heart is actively beating. The second number is the diastolic pressure which provides information about the resting blood pressure. The blood pressure should be in the range of 100 – 130 (systolic pressure) and 60 – 80 (diastolic pressure). Anything lower or higher than these ranges will indicate hypertension or hypotension (both of which are bad for you).

Temperature

The normal body temperature for an adult is around 98.6°F. Anything near to 100.4°F or higher is classed as a fever which means that the body is unable to regulate the temperature properly and so the body becomes too hot. A fever can result from an infection, heat exhaustion, or certain medications.

How are the vital signs measured?

The vital signs monitor comes with various accessories that are used to measure the vital signs. The patient’s blood pressure and heart rate can be measured when the patient wears the blood pressure cuff on their upper arm. The cuff will tighten around the patient’s arm and then slowly release. Then the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate will appear on the device screen.

The finger clip sensor is used to measure the SpO₂ (the oxygen levels). The nurse will place the finger clip on the patient’s index finger and then the oxygen levels will be recorded on the vital sign monitor. The blood pressure cuff and finger clip sensor should never be placed on the same side.

Vital sign monitors can also come with an inbuilt thermometer that can measure the patient’s temperature automatically.

The technology has come a long way since it was first developed. In the past, there were no colors and no onscreen values. Nowadays the patient’s data can be viewed on-screen, the monitors are touch-screen, the device is mobile, and the patient data can be uploaded to the online database easily.

Alternatively, some vital signs can be measured without using the vital signs monitor. John Hopkins Medicine has detailed in their article how this can be done.

My monitor is beeping, what does this mean?

If the patient’s vital signs are out of the normal range, the vital sign monitor will make a sound to alert the nurses. This feature has been designed so the nurses can come and check on the patient to see if they are doing ok. If the patient is not doing so well, the health workers can take appropriate action promptly.

It is important to note that the vital signs monitor can also start beeping if the accessories become loose or if there is a device fault. So, if the vital signs monitor begins making sounds, this doesn’t always mean there is immediate danger.

If the monitor does begin making the alert sounds and the nurse does not come to check on the patient, the patient should try to notify the nurses in the area.

Image reference Jair Lázaro on Unsplash


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ControlRad Gets FDA Clearance to Use ControlRad Trace on OEC 9900 Mobile C-Arms

September 17, 2020

Several studies have shown that high radiation exposure can increase your risk of a stroke, brain cancer, DNA damage, and much more. During medical examinations, the patient and technician are both at risk of unnecessary radiation exposure, so it’s important that the radiation is controlled to ensure that the patient and technician are exposed to minimal amounts. ControlRad has a way to tackle this issue.

ControlRad is a medical company based in Atlanta, Georgia that produces novel systems to minimize radiation exposure emitted by fluoroscopically guided procedures (FGP). They are putting the safety of the patients and technicians at the forefront of their novel technology as the ControlRad trace technology aims to reduce radiation exposure without compromising the image quality of mobile C-arms.

Recently, it was announced that ControlRad obtained 510(k) clearance by the FDA. Specifically, they obtained clearance to use the ControlRad trace on OEC 9900 mobile C-arms.

The ControlRad trace system comes with a tablet, advanced image processing technology, and a filter. ControlRad suggests that unnecessary radiation exposure could be decreased by 50% with the ControlRad trace system. Another benefit is that the ControlRad trace can be easily added onto any mobile c-arm system.

When using the ControlRad trace system, the user will be prompted to select the region of interest with the tablet provided. Then the filter will adjust to focus specifically on the region of interest and then the radiation will be administered. This means that only the necessary radiation is passed through the filter, and the radiation is prevented from scattering to non-specific regions.

"We believe that ControlRad's Trace technology is vital to reducing radiation exposure in the clinical setting, and we are proud to be investors in a breakthrough technology with a great management team focused on commercial execution," stated Ryan Drant, Founder and Managing Partner, Questa Capital. 

To find out more about the ControlRad trace technology, follow the link https://controlrad.com/.  

The image was taken from the press release.


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A Comparison of 3 Different C-arms Made by Philips

September 04, 2020

Many manufacturers are continually developing and improving their C-arms. In this article, we will be comparing 3 different C-arms manufactured by Philips: the Libra, Veradius, and Pulsera.

Philips Libra

The Philips Libra is a compact C-arm which is useful for smaller and less intensive surgical procedures.

  • Among the 3 different C-arms, the Libra is probably the cheapest.
  • The Libra uses a 9” triple mode image intensifier.
  • Can store up to 1,000 images.
  • The Libra has a stationary anode with a heat capacity of 50,000 HU and the x-ray tube has a heat capacity of 1,200,000 HU which is on the lower end of the spectrum.
  • The Libra has low power compared to the other C-arm models; the maximum power for the Libra is 3.15 kilowatts.  

Due to these specs, the Libra won’t be very useful for procedures requiring prolonged high power usage.

Philips Pulsera

The Philips Pulsera is a full-sized C-arm that can be used all day for surgical procedures requiring high power.

  • The Pulsera uses a 9” or 12” tri-mode image intensifier.
  • Can store up to 10,000 images internally.
  • The Pulsera has a maximum power of 7.5 kilowatts which is double that of the Libra but it doesn’t quite beat the Veradius.
  • The Pulsera boasts an upgraded heat capacity compared to the Libra, as the Pulsera has a rotating anode with a heat capacity of 300,000 HU and the x-ray tube has a heat capacity of 1,900,000 HU.

Philips Veradius

The Philips Veradius probably has the best specs out of the three C-arm models mentioned in this article.

  • This C-arm uses a flat panel detector called the trixell amorphous silicon detector. Whilst the Libra and Pulsera both use image intensifiers instead. The flat detector gives the technician more room to maneuver during surgery and the ability to see and communicate with the other colleagues in the workspace more efficiently. 
  • Similarly to the Pulsera, the Veradius has a rotating anode with a high heat capacity of 300,000 HU and the x-ray tube has a heat capacity of 1,900,000 HU. These specs make it highly unlikely that the Pulsera or the Veradius will overheat during prolonged usage.
  • The Veradius functions at high power with a maximum power of 15 kilowatts (nearly 5 times more power than the Libra). The enhanced power allows the Veradius to produce high-quality images.
  • The Veradius is a full-sized C-arm; it is definitely not lightweight as it weighs 65 kg more than the Libra. 
  • Apparently, the Veradius can store up to 20,000 images internally (this is way more than the Pulsera and Libra).

As you can see, there are a variety of C-arms available to meet your specific needs. The Libra would be great for a small room due to its compact nature, the other two C-arms may not be suitable for that. The Pulsera and Veradius are powerhouses well suited to procedures needing high power for extended periods of time.

Go to https://www.philips.co.uk/healthcare/solutions/mobile-c-arms to find out more.


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Treating COVID-19 With Low Level Laser Therapy

September 04, 2020

Researchers from Canada have explained how low level laser therapy could potentially be used in combination with drugs to fight COVID-19 and to prevent serious complications like acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The study has now been published in the Canadian Journal of Respiratory Therapy.

Low Level Laser Therapy Background

Low level laser therapy is a treatment that uses low intensity laser beams on the skin to treat medical conditions; the therapy commonly uses light with wavelengths in the region of 650 to 900 nanometers depending on whether superficial tissues or deeper tissues are being targeted.

As the low level laser uses low power, it is not hot on the skin and so the skin won’t burn. Low level laser therapy is non-invasive, safe to use, and the treatment time isn’t very long either. It should only take a few minutes but this can vary depending on your individual needs.

In low level laser therapy, the laser probe is placed on the skin and then the probe emits the laser beam. The light penetrates the skin and causes a reaction in the body cells. Low level laser therapy can reduce toxic molecules that harm normal tissues in the body, and boost energy levels for repair processes.  

Low level lasers are approved by the FDA and Health Canada and are routinely used for a range of conditions:

  • Pain relief
  • Hair growth
  • Removing cellulite
  • Skin problems
  • Wound healing
  • Muscular conditions
  • And much more.

What Can Happen If You Have COVID-19?

In the really bad cases of COVID-19, the patient’s immune system will go absolutely crazy and produce a large number of cytokines; the researchers have called this “the cytokine storm”. In normal circumstances, cytokines are released during an immune response to foreign pathogens like the virus! However, in severe cases of COVID-19, the cytokine storm will damage your cells too. Unfortunately, organ failure, ARDS, and death may even occur due to this hyperactive immune response in severe COVID-19 patients.    

Several studies have shown that severe COVID-19 patients had very high levels of pro-inflammatory factors compared to non-severe patients; these individuals were experiencing the cytokine storm. Due to these results, researchers suggest a therapy should be developed which can dampen all these immune responses so that the patients don’t experience the cytokine storm and its devastating effects.

How Can Laser Therapy Help With COVID-19?

Researchers have suggested that using low level laser therapy with the current COVID-19 treatments may be able to stop deterioration in COVID-19 patients, substantially reduce dependence on ventilators and bring the patients back to good health much quicker.

Many studies over the years have reported that low level laser therapy has anti-inflammatory properties; it has been successfully used in patients with lung conditions like pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, etc. Low level laser therapy could also be used for COVID-19 as it can reduce the inflammation of the lungs; it can do this by blocking the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines which are causing all the problems!

Right now, we know there are substantial issues with medical supply shortages, especially for ventilators. So if using this laser therapy could reduce the need for ventilators, it would be very helpful at this crucial point in time and ease the burden on the healthcare system.

Side Effects of Low Level Laser Therapy

Patients may experience side effects due to the low level laser therapy. These may include:

  • Damage to your eyes

If the light from the laser probe enters your eyes it could damage your eyes, this is why safety glasses are used during the treatment to block the light from entering your eyes.

  • Feeling tired

Patients frequently feel tired after the laser therapy; this is because the laser therapy can increase the amounts of natural pain killers in the body, which makes the person feel relaxed and sleepy.

  • A drop in blood pressure

Some individuals may experience a drop in blood pressure after laser therapy. This happens when laser therapy is directed near to a blood vessel, then the blood vessels widen, and this can cause a drop in blood pressure.

Generally, pregnant women, individuals with benign tumors, and light-sensitive individuals are advised against having low level laser therapy. 

Parameters and Dosages for COVID-19

Soheila Mokmeli and Mariana Vetrici, the authors of the study have written about where the probe could potentially be placed on the COVID-19 patients. They have said that the probe can be placed over the lung structures like the trachea, bronchus, or could be placed over the veins, or even in the nose.

There are more details about the dosages and other parameters required for laser therapy in low severity COVID-19 patients, as well as, the severe COVID-19 patients. Further details can be found in their study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428000/  

Image reference Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels


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MRI Scan Created With AI Is on Par With Conventional MRI

August 27, 2020

Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the Facebook AI team wanted to find out whether MRI scans generated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) were comparable to the traditional MRI scans which are currently used in clinics, the study results have been published in the American Journal of Roentgenology. The MRI scans using AI are called fastMRI scans. For the fastMRI, the researchers developed a neural network that was trained using data from previous knee MRI scans.

In the study, a total of 108 patients had MRI scans done on their knees. Then radiologists were given the task to review the MRI scans created with AI and the traditional MRI machine. It was found that there were no substantial differences between the two different methods, and the radiologists were able to arrive at the same conclusion regarding the diagnosis regardless of the method used. Furthermore, the radiologists found that the fastMRI images were of superior quality to the conventional MRI images. Also, the fastMRI does not require as much data as traditional methods, and so the imaging time is faster! The researchers suggest that the imaging times for knees could be less than 10 minutes in the future if AI technology is used.  

"We are highly encouraged by these results," says Daniel K. Sodickson, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Research in Radiology and director of the Center for Advanced Imaging Innovation and Research at NYULH. "We also encourage others to use the fastMRI data and open-source code to build upon our findings.  Together, we will continue to push the boundaries of medical imaging, using AI not merely to replicate tasks performed by humans, but to generate entirely new capabilities – like ultrafast MRI – that enhance the care of patients."  

Go to https://fastmri.org to learn more.

Image reference Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay


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