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COVID-19 Resources for Nuclear Cardiologists & Radiologists

Posted on: 03.27.20

Nuclear Medicine departments and providers are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in unprecedented ways. We’re closely monitoring the latest developments, and in this post we take a look at four areas that are impacting nuclear cardiology.

COVID-19 Best Practices & Preparedness for Nuclear Cardiologists

ANSC held an informative webcast this week with leading experts on the front line of nuclear cardiology. The presentation featured Dr. Sharmila Dorbala and highlighted COVID-19 preparedness and best practices for nuclear cardiologists. Key topics covered in the webcast included exercise stress vs. vasodilator testing procedures, patient screening, staff protection, and image interpretation/reporting. Click here to view a recording of the webcast.

Confusion Around Lung Perfusion Ventilation Studies

On social media, and within the industry, we’ve seen a robust discussion around lung perfusion ventilation studies. Due to the airborne nature of COVID-19, there is hesitation among technologists about performing these studies and questions about the benefits outweighing the risks. This week the American College of Radiology came out with a statement encouraging departments not to do the ventilation portion of the scans, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging also issued guidance on the topic.

Sudden Interest in Telehealth

The sudden shift to Telehealth and assisting patients over the phone and the internet has developed as a critical need for cardiology practices. The team at MedAxiom has been providing a number of valuable COVID-19 related resources and recently held a webinar focused on Telehealth.

During the broadcast, Dr. Jerry Blackwell and a team of experts covered topics such as the best tools for Telehealth, best practices, coding tips, and more. Click here to view a recording of the webcast.

Moving the Radiology Department Outside the Hospital

Hospitals are now actively looking for ways that Nuclear Medicine bedside imaging can assist with infection control. As such, Digirad has seen an uptick in interest around the Ergo imaging system and has ramped up production of the portable gamma camera to meet demand. As facilities consider their ‘hospital within a hospital’ quarantine approach, bedside and portable imaging makes more and more sense.

Our sister company, DMS Health, has seen increased interest in mobile healthcare and the benefits of moving the radiology department outside the hospital during this time of crisis. On the DMS blog this week, the team took a look at the role mobile imaging is playing and how hospitals are using the service to keep radiology departments operational.

What Are You Hearing and Seeing?

How are the current challenges and changes affecting your practice? Have you found any techniques or resources that are benefiting your patients? Join the discussion on our LinkedIn page and share your successes and challenges. We want to hear from you and get your view on the latest.

New Studies Highlight Innovations in Drug-Eluting Stent Research

Posted on: 07.18.19

New Studies Highlight Innovations in Drug-Eluting Stent Research

The recently released Stent Market Report highlights steady growth happening in the stent industry. The global stent market is expected to reach an estimated $10.8 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 3.3% from 2019 to 2024.

This growth is largely driven by increasing interventional cardiology and peripheral vascular procedures. There has also been a rising adoption of technological advancements in stents in an effort to reduce treatment duration for high-risk conventional surgical patients.

Some emerging trends that are making their mark include increasing use of the bioreabsorbable stent, adoption of co-polymers as raw materials, and increasing adoption of bifurcated stents.

There is also a corresponding increase in cases of cardiovascular disorders, which leads analysts to forecast that growth will be above average. The drug-eluting stent is forecasted to remain the largest market by technology due to lower restenosis rate after surgery. The bioreabsorbable stent is predicted to be the highest growth market, while North America is set to remain the largest geographic market.

New Studies Feature Drug-Eluting Stent Innovations

Here are a few recently published studies that highlight innovations and news related to drug-eluting stents.

IVUS guided stent implantation for CKD patients

A study out of Nanjing Medical University, China examined the effects of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) guided drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation on patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

While previous trials have established the benefits of IVUS guided implantation over traditional angiography guidance for patients with complex lesions, use of the procedure has been controversial for patients with CKD due to longer procedural time and perceived potential risks of acute renal failure and atheroembolism.

The study assessed 1,443 patients of whom 723 underwent IVUS-guided DES implantations and 720 underwent angiography-guided DES implantations from August 2014 to May 2017. This study included 349 CKD patients.

The results showed that at 12 months, the target vessel failure (TVF) among CKD patients was significantly higher than non-CKD patients at 7.2% versus 3.2%. Of those in the CKD group, there were 25 total TVFs with 7 in the IVUS group and 18 in the angiography group.

The reduced risk of TVF in the IVUS group for CKD patients was mainly driven by the lower risk of Target Vessel MI (TVMI) (0.6 vs. 3.6 percent) and Target Vessel Revascularization (TVR) (1.1 vs. 4.7 percent). Broader studies are being called upon.

This is a significant development to watch with CKD pegged as a growing worldwide health issue. CKD is common among US adults, with around 15% estimated to have the condition, although an estimated nine out of ten don’t know they have it. CKD brings with it a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Cost-effective drug-eluting stent just as good as more expensive competitor

A study out of Europe was recently published in Lancet comparing a cheaper, Indian-made drug-eluting stent to a costlier American-made stent.

The trial involved more than 1,400 European patients, with half receiving the Supraflex (Indian-made stent) and half receiving Xience (made by Abbot in the United States). The European government bought the stents in 2017 after noting the wide price variation on the market. One of their goals was to ensure life-saving devices were affordable.

The results of the study showed that the outcome remained the same for both trial groups after twelve months. This is promising as an option to keep costs down for patients who require a stent. Further studies are to be conducted on diabetic patients who require angioplasty.

Drug-eluting stents more effective than bare metal stents

While new-generation drug-eluting stents (DES) have been investigated up against earlier generation DES to show similar efficacy and superior safety, they had not been compared to bare metal stents (BMS).

A study recently published in Lancet concludes that; “The performance of new-generation DES in the first year after implantation means that BMS should no longer be considered the gold standard for safety.”

In comparing new-generation DES to BMS, the following findings came out:

“We obtained individual data for 26 616 patients in 20 randomized trials. Mean follow-up was 3·2 (SD 1·8) years. The risk of the primary outcome was reduced in DES recipients compared with BMS recipients (HR 0·84, 95% CI 0·78–0·90, p<0·001) owing to a reduced risk of myocardial infarction (0·79, 0·71–0·88, p<0·001) and a possible slight but non-significant cardiac mortality benefit (0·89, 0·78–1·01, p=0·075). All-cause death was unaffected (HR with DES 0·96, 95% CI 0·88–1·05, p=0·358), but risk was lowered for definite stent thrombosis (0·63, 0·50–0·80, p<0·001) and target-vessel revascularization (0·55, 0·50–0·60, p<0·001). We saw a time-dependent treatment effect, with DES being associated with lower risk of the primary outcome than BMS up to 1 year after placement. While the effect was maintained in the longer term, there was no further divergence from BMS after 1 year.”

The study interpretation ends with the following recommendation:

 “Further development of DES technology should target improvements in clinical outcomes beyond 1 year.”

Ultrathin-strut DES beneficial for small coronary vessels

A recent presentation at EuroPCR by Clemens von Birgelen, MD, PhD, FESC, director of the department of cardiology at Thoraxcentrum Twente and professor of cardiology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, showed that ultrathin-strut DES are beneficial for cardiac patients with small coronary vessels.

The three-year study examined 1,452 patients, each of whom had at least one small vessel lesion. Patients with small coronary vessels had a lower rate of target lesion revascularization if they were implanted with an ultrathin-strut sirolimus-eluting stent compared with a thin-strut zotarolimus-eluting stent.

“Small coronary vessel PCI has an increased adverse event risk but is performed in many patients,” von Birgelen said during his presentation. “Newer DES, such as ultrathin strut Orsiro and very thin strut Synergy, have substantially thinner struts than earlier DES. This may be particularly advantageous in small vessels, due to the greater relative impact of strut size on lumen obstruction.”

Final thoughts

There are a number of interesting studies coming out on drug-eluting stent use and improvements to how they are placed and used. It will be interesting to monitor how these develop further and the implications for the US market.

Overall, the cardiac stent market is set to grow steadily, with increasing use of interventional cardiology helping to drive it. Expect to see more product innovations and work to improve long-term outcomes.

A Look Back at News from SNMMI 2019

Posted on: 07.02.19

The SNMMI 2019 Annual Meeting wrapped up last week and proved to be an informative and eventful event. The Digirad team was on hand during the show and enjoyed connecting with colleagues and customers in Anaheim, California. Here are some highlights from SNMMI 2019.

Image of the Year & the Future of Theranostics

One of the big stories from the show was the announcement of the Image of the Year.

Each year, the SNMMI chooses an image that best exemplifies the most promising advances in the field of nuclear medicine. This year the award went to a team of researchers at University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany for a 68Ga-FAPI-PET/CT study.

While the image was impressive, the radiotracer used to deliver the image is what was making waves. The single radiotracer highlighted in the award can identify nearly 30 types of cancer and allows for new applications in noninvasive diagnosis, staging, and treatment.

The results of the study demonstrate that positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) with a fibroblast-activation protein inhibitor (FAPI)—which targets the overexpressed proteins present in cancer—resulted in images with exceptionally clear tumor delineation and high image contrast

In this video from WebsEdgeHealth, Dr. Frederik Giesel discusses how the team created the image and what it means:

Read the full release on the SNMMI website to learn more about the 2019 Image of the Year.

A Busy Week for Digirad

The Digirad team participated in several events at SNMMI 2019. Visitors were welcomed into the exhibit hall by Gypsy; our custom painted Ergo that is used for point-of-care imaging.

Exequiel Zaballero kicked off the Training Showcases on Sunday morning with an insightful presentation about Fluorescence Attenuation Correction. The presentation explained what SPECT FAC is, how it works, and why it matters.


While at the show we also took time to interview colleagues and industry insiders for a video series that will be debuting later in 2019. Watch the Digirad blog and our LinkedIn channel for more in the coming months.

New Officers for SNMMI

SNMMI also announced a new set of officers at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

Newly elected President Dr. Vasken Dilsizian stated, “Within a short period of time, we have witnessed the approval of several new diagnostic and therapeutic agents by the FDA, which was a tall order. More innovations are in development and clinical trials, with potentially huge impact for patients. SNMMI is ready to meet the challenge of guiding them to approval and appropriate reimbursement.”

You can view the complete list of new officers on the SNMMI website.

The Digirad team congratulates all the new officers and looks forward to working with SNMMI over the next year to further the mission of nuclear medicine.

Healthcare QuickLinks: The case for decentralization of health care, radiopharma user rules, and more

Posted on: 02.21.19

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

Do hospitals still make sense? The case for decentralization of health care

From their humble origins as charitable almshouses for the poor and destitute who could not afford to receive care at home, hospitals have evolved into large, profitable, expensive, technology-laden institutions at the epicenter of the health care universe. Almost every community has at least one general centralized hospital, and most have more than one — with those that don’t being considered “underserved” or “frontier” communities, and with the hospitals in such communities sometimes receiving the designation of “critical access.” But health care is changing and until recently, centralizing care around a hospital made sense. Continue reading…

Las Vegas brain institute takes on unique Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s project

In the only trial of its kind in the United States, a Las Vegas doctor is injecting patients with a radioactive liquid and scanning their brains in hopes of discovering the cause of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Dr. Aaron Ritter at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test the GE180 tracer in humans to research neurodegeneration. Continue reading…

SNMMI, ACNM oppose relaxing radiopharma user rules

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) and the American College of Nuclear Medicine (ACNM) have submitted a joint statement opposing any changes in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) training and experience requirements for healthcare personnel to administer radiopharmaceuticals. The NRC is pondering the creation of a “limited user” category for physicians with little or no background in nuclear medicine. While no formal framework is in place, it is anticipated that the training and experience requirements to become a limited user would be much less rigorous than the current standards for authorized users and other nuclear medicine practitioners. Continue reading…

Prior authorizations still a pain for patients, practices, survey finds

Insurance prior authorizations for certain drugs, tests and treatments continue to burden medical practices and could negatively affect patient outcomes, according to new survey results from the American Medical Association.The survey took place in December, 2018 among 1,000 practicing physicians. Here are the top seven findings. Continue reading…

18Fluorocholine-PET/CT demonstrates better clinical utility than conventional prostate imaging

First-line imaging with 18fluorocholine-PET/CT demonstrated more clinical utility than conventional imaging for identifying prostate lesions with a high impact on patient management, according to results of a randomized trial presented at Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. However, researchers did not observe an increase in prognostic performance with the different imaging modality, and both approaches appeared to have a poor negative predictive value. Continue reading…

Healthcare QuickLinks: New SPECT guidelines, radiopharmaceutical tracers for cardiac imaging, and more

Posted on: 01.17.19

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

Researchers identify features least-sensitive to PET system variations

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria provided new guidance for selecting optimizing features from 18F-FDG-PET/CT studies—demonstrating feature variations can be minimized for selected image parameters and imaging systems, in a new study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Laszlo Papp, PhD, and colleagues imaged a whole-body phantom with 13 PET/CT systems at 12 different sites. Continue reading

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging guidelines: Instrumentation, acquisition, processing, and interpretation.

Recent advances in Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) have fundamentally changed acquisition, processing, and interpretation of myocardial perfusion images. Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) can now be personalized and tailored to the individual patient and the clinical question. Review the most up to date MPI guidelines for conventional and novel SPECT for qualified medical professionals engaged in the practice of nuclear cardiology. Continue reading…

Radiopharmaceutical tracers for cardiac imaging

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disease burden worldwide. Nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging with either single-photon emission computed tomography or positron emission tomography has been used extensively to perform diagnosis, monitor therapies, and predict cardiovascular events. Several radiopharmaceutical tracers have recently been developed to evaluate CVD by targeting myocardial perfusion, metabolism, innervation, and inflammation. Continue reading

Blue House, Red Senate: What Now For American Healthcare?

The 2018 midterms left the Republicans with the Senate majority and the Democrats with control of the House. The congressional split bodes poorly for the 71% of voters who labeled healthcare as “very important” in determining their vote. In this article, would-be voters were asked to get specific about which healthcare issues matter to them most. See the top six issues and how likely they are to be addressed by Congress in the next two years. Continue reading

Type 2 Diabetes an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease

According to study results published in Heart Rhythm Society, type 2 diabetes is an independent risk factor for sudden cardiac arrest and death in patients with coronary artery disease with preserved ejection fraction. With this prospective observational study, researchers sought to compare the incidence of sudden cardiac death in Finnish patients with and without T2D who had CAD and preserved ejection fraction. Continue reading…

How to set up shop as an independent MD

Physicians everywhere are realizing the benefits of breaking free from the drudgery of full-time employment with a large healthcare corporation. As the healthcare pendulum has swung away from private practice to employed physicians—the desire has escalated to return some autonomy back to those once independent doctors. There’s a huge supply-demand mismatch that is working in physicians’ favor and if they’re savvy about it, they’ll consider the options they have at their disposal to help them move away from full-time clinical work. Continue reading

4 ways to prepare for MACRA in 2019

The new year is here, and practices must keep pace with evolving Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) policies. With the new final reporting rule, it’s often difficult to balance optimizing the revenue cycle while monitoring impacts on performance scores and operational workflows. To combat these challenges, practices can apply four tips to enhance cash flow while being mindful of MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting requirements. Continue reading

Healthcare Quicklinks: Value based care, new ACC accreditation, patient collection mistakes, and more

Posted on: 11.08.18

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments:

Physician practices seek help in transition to value-based care

Physicians not affiliated with hospitals are increasingly turning to consulting firms to help them move into value-based care and accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to a new Black Book Research report. A survey of nearly 900 physician organizations showed that 68% of group practices of 10 or more doctors said they will seek “external advisement on financially and clinically transforming their operations” within the next year. Continue reading…

ACC launches new quality accreditation program for excellence in cardiovascular care

The American College of Cardiology (ACC)’s new accreditation program, HeartCARE Center: National Distinction of Excellence, will be designated “forward thinking” hospitals and healthcare systems that demonstrate excellence in cardiovascular care and also “advance the cause of sustainable quality improvement.” The HeartCARE Center designation is now the highest a hospital or healthcare system can receive from the ACC. Continue reading

Here is how all 50 states, DC rank in patient access

The Mercatus Center within Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University released its June 2018 update report on patient access to healthcare. The Healthcare Openness and Access Project reviewed state health data to draw comparisons on states’ healthcare flexibility. The ranking leverages the overall HOAP index, which averages 10 equally weighted subindexes that “measure the discretion patients and providers have over broad areas of healthcare, such as public health and telemedicine,” the report states. Here’s how all 50 states and Washington, D.C., stacked up. Continue reading…

CMS seeks input on Stark Law changes amid value-based care shift

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently asked stakeholders for input on how to change the Stark Law to allow for better care coordination and new alternative payment models or other novel financial arrangements. The agency specifically is requesting input on what new exemptions to the Stark Law are needed to protect accountable care organization models, bundled payment models and other payment models, including how to allow coordination care outside of an alternative payment model. It also asks for help examining definitions for terminology such as risk-sharing, enrollee, gain-sharing and other terms. Continue reading…

5 common patient collections mistakes

It wasn’t long ago when patient collections were viewed as a minor concern in ASCs. Reimbursement was strong, and what patients owed for their care was relatively low. Then reimbursement started tightening while patient financial responsibility rapidly increased. Since 2015, patients experienced a nearly 30 percent increase in deductible and out-of-pocket maximum costs. It won’t be surprising to see that figure rise even further when Black Book releases its 2018 revenue cycle management surveys. Continue reading…

Deep learning, SPECT-MPI forecast obstructive CAD

SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and deep learning have proven to be a powerful pair in predicting obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and improving the interpretation of upright and supine images, according to research published Sept. 27 in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The study analyzed stress MPI images from 1,160 patients (64 percent males) from the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Registry of Fast Myocardial Perfusion Imaging with Next generation SPECT (REFINE-SPECT) who underwent upright and supine SPECT MPI in four U.S. nuclear cardiology centers between 2008 and 2015. Continue reading…

SNMMI comments on 2019 proposed hospital outpatient rule

SNMMI and the American College of Nuclear Medicine recently responded to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ 2019 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) Proposed Rule. In brief, SNMMI and ACNM objected to CMS’ proposal to remove three radiopharmaceuticals from the pass-through list for 2019. They also noted that removing two Alzheimer’s drugs from pass-through, while putting another back on pass-through, will make it difficult to obtain coverage for any of the three. Lastly, SNMMI and ACNM asked CMS to clarify that it will continue to provide additional payments for low-enriched uranium. Read thefull letter here.

Brain MR-PET reveals widespread inflammation in fibromyalgia patients

Using MR/PET imaging, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have revealed that elevated glial activation—widespread neuroinflammation—correlates with fatigue levels in patients with fibromyalgia, and may enhance the development of treatment. The research was published online Sept. 14 in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. Continue reading…

DMS completes ISO-9001 Certification, certified mobile PET/CT provider

Posted on: 10.18.18

DMS Health Technologies, a leading provider of Mobile MRI, PET, and CT imaging, recently announced that it has obtained ISO-9001 certification. ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management systems (QMS).

What is ISO-9001 certification and why does it matter?

Organizations in various industries leverage the ISO-9001 standard as a way to demonstrate their ability to consistently offer products and services that meet these specific requirements.

In the healthcare sector, standards help minimize errors, reduce redundancy, lower costs, and increase customer satisfaction. It’s critical for a provider like DMS to offer quality equipment to hospitals and bring the same level of care to their patients, especially when they’re operating as an extension of the hospital.

Covering everything from product fulfillment and maintenance to overall quality management, ISO offers a framework for identifying non-conformance and provides corrective processes. Each step is a chain of events, a series of inputs and outputs, and when they’re successfully connected to each other to work as an effective process, it provides the most efficient path to quality.

Imaging Equipment and Services

For DMS equipment, the certification was focused on how to fulfill an order and execute the deliverables within the contract. The DMS team expects their equipment to arrive on time, be clean, well maintained, and ready to go.

The ISO certification didn’t just help with the leasing side of their business. On the service side, delivery included DMS staff that provided diagnostic imaging on the hospital’s patients. With DMS’ ISO certification, hospitals can have peace of mind that both equipment and services comply with standards of excellence, which allows DMS to represent the hospital well.

When you leverage DMS Health Technologies, either for products or services, they serve as an extension of your organization. The ISO 9001-2015 certification is just one more way that DMS has demonstrated their commitment to the satisfaction of their customers and to the overall quality they provide.

MedAxiom Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference Preview

Posted on: 10.10.18

MedAxiom’s annual Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference will be held in Austin, Texas from October 11-13, 2018.

The Live Music Capital of the World will host over 6,800 physicians and more than 400 cardiovascular organizations as they come together to share information and experiences, network with their esteemed peers, and discuss key industry trends. Attendees will be introduced to transformational programs and hear from the nation’s top leaders.

This year’s keynote presentation will focus on the state of our industry in a market that is being led and developed to support self-insured employers. Other general session topics include telehealth and virtual medicine, physician alignment organizations and payer platforms, and the latest regulatory and legal developments in Washington.

With additional detailed breakout presentations and intimate POD group discussions, attendees will have multiple opportunities to gain in-depth insight and real-world solutions to the challenges we face as an industry.

If you want to maximize your trip, head to the pre-conference area where you can tackle a content-rich boot camp for new APP Provider leaders or take a dive deep into exploring quality metrics and compensation formulas.

Digirad is proud to be an exhibitor at the 2018 Transforum Conference again this year. We’d love to introduce you to our wide range of solid-state imaging solutions or answer any questions you may have about our products, services, or support. Be sure to stop by the Exhibit Hall and say hello.

See you in Austin!

Join Digirad at ASNC 2018 in San Francisco

Posted on: 08.30.18

Grab your suitcase and join Digirad at the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology’s 23rd Annual Scientific Session. From September 6 through 9, 2018, we’ll be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in the sunny city by the bay, San Francisco, California.

This year’s theme, Bridging Quality Imaging and Patient Care, will bring together cardiologists, radiologists, practice administrators, and other healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss emerging research, new technology, and advances in nuclear cardiology.

What’s new?

Brand new for 2018 is show-stopping keynote speaker, Tait Shanafelt, MD, Director of the Stanford WellMD Center and international thought leader. He’ll share insight on how to find meaning, balance and professional fulfillment in the practice of medicine.

Other first-time features include an imaging-based case management track, hands-on PET and SPECT simulation, a walk and learn tour with past ASNC presidents, deep dives on machine learning, molecular imaging, and other fast-evolving innovations, and more. Plus, 2018 marks ASNC’s 25th anniversary. You won’t want to miss this milestone celebration!

Visit us at Booth #401

While you’re there, be sure to visit the Exhibit Hall to learn about the latest advances in nuclear cardiology technology and professional services. Digirad is thrilled to be among the exhibitors at this year’s meeting. Look for us in Booth #401 where we’ll be showcasing the Cardius® X-ACT+ SPECT/FAC camera. We’ll also have team members on hand to discuss cardiac PET solutions. Stop by and see us!

For more information about the event, click here to visit the ASNC website.

World Lung Cancer Day – August 1st

Posted on: 07.26.18

This upcoming Wednesday, August 1st, is World Lung Cancer Day.  As healthcare providers, we feel that it is important to help raise awareness of the disease and discuss what can be done to combat it.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women – second only to prostate and breast and prostate cancer.  With over 234,000 new cases of lung cancer being diagnosed each year, the chances of developing the disease are 1 in 15 for men and 1 in 17 for women.  With statistics like these, it is important that we know what symptoms to look for and what we can do to prevent it.

Signs & Symptoms

Unfortunately, the majority of people that develop lung cancer are asymptomatic, or do not have any signs or symptoms, before the cancer starts to spread.  Some individuals do experience early symptoms that help to detect the cancer before it spreads but it is not as often as the medical community would like.  Some of the most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough that lingers or gets worse over time
  • Cough that produces a bloody or concerning looking phlegm
  • Consistently feeling tired or weak
  • Loss of weight or appetite
  • Chronic respiratory infections – bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.…
  • Wheezing

Early Detection

There is hope thanks to advances in technology and medicine.  As detection methods are improving, so are the odds of overcoming early stage lung cancer.  One of the best screening tools out there is a low dose CT (LDCT) lung cancer screening.

What is a low dose CT lung cancer screening?

LDCT lung cancer screening is exactly as it sounds – a CT or CAT scan involving a minimal amount of radiation.  The exam itself takes only a few seconds while most of the time spent at the imaging facility is either registering at the front desk or walking back to the CT department.  Luckily, there is no need to have an IV or contrast injected as part of the routine screening exam.

Can anyone have a LDCT lung cancer screening?

Right now, to qualify for a LDCT screening exam, there are a few criteria that must be met.  Keep in mind, newer healthcare procedures tend to evolve over time and this is what the American Cancer Society currently recommends (all criteria must be met):

  • Be a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
  • Have a 30+ pack year smoking history: This equation for this is: (# of years smoked) x (# of cigarettes per day) = pack years
  • Example: (15 years of smoking) x (2 packs per day) = 30 pack years
  • Received counseling to quit smoking if they are current smokers
  • Have been informed by their physician regarding the potential benefits, limitations and harms associated with LDCT screenings
  • Have a facility where they can go to receive LDCT screenings and treatment


Digirad and DMS Health Technologies are available to help your facility or clinic establish a LDCT screening program. Don’t have a CT scanner?  No worries, we can help with that.

There are many resources out there on lung cancer, smoking cessation, patient and family support.  A few great places to start are:

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