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Hybrid Molecular Imaging Technique May Benefit Patients with Hyperparathyroidism

The Society of Nuclear Medicine's Image of the Year, which uses the hybrid technique, was part of a larger study that compared imaging techniques in patients with hyperparathyroidism.

The Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) Image of the Year depicts the potential of hybrid molecular imaging to provide precise information about the location and function of hyperparathyroidism, a tool that could help physicians diagnose and treat the condition.

The image was taken as part of a larger study that scanned patients with symptoms of hyperparathyroidism using MIBI, SPECT, and multidetector computed tomography (MDCT). The researchers took these images and generated more specific depictions of the enlarged gland, then compared these images to ones taken with single imaging modalities. This comparison led the researchers to conclude that the hybrid molecular imaging technique was more effective.

With surgery, the researchers were able to identify 34 glands, while “SPECT/CT fusion image, MIBI SPECT and ultrasound identified 32 (94%), 27 (79%) and 27 (79%) adenomas, respectively.” The fusion imaging technique identified five glands that were not seen by ultrasound and MIBI SPECT; this technique also “successfully showed feedings arteries in 29 adenomas.” The use of fusion images for navigation also decreased operation time; the preliminary results of eight patients “showed that operation time is decreased by approximately 82% compared to studies performed without fusion images.”

The SNM Image of the Year “shows the potential of fusion of high-resolution 3D anatomy with functional SPECT images to provide critical information to help physicians to diagnose and treat hyperparathyroidism,” the researchers said.

“This year’s Image of the Year provides an example of a novel imaging presentation, using a combination of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with high resolution CT angiography, which pinpoints the abnormally functioning parathyroid adenoma and the arteries feeding it,” continued Michael M. Graham, PhD, MD, immediate past-president of SNM. “With this information, physicians may be able determine the exact location and size of the abnormal gland and plan minimally invasive surgery that reduces operative time, thus improving patient care.”