MRA Techniques Improve Patient Safety at Little Company of Mary

Feb. 27, 2010

TUSTIN, Calif., Feb. 25, 2010 – In response to concern over gadolinium-based contrast agents, Little Company of Mary, a not-for-profit Catholic community hospital in Evergreen Park, Ill., wanted to provide the highest quality and safest MRA procedures to its patients.  To accomplish this, the facility installed Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.’s Vantage Atlas® MR system and utilized the full suite of proprietary contrast-free MRA techniques.  These contrast-free techniques proved so beneficial that Little Company of Mary now completes 98 percent of its MRA exams without contrast.

“Eliminating the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents, particularly for patients with renal impairment, is greatly improving patient safety for those undergoing MRA exams at Little Company of Mary,” said Kate Erickson, supervisor of CT and MRI, Little Company of Mary.  “The image quality produced using the contrast-free techniques is equal to or better than typical contrast-enhanced MRA exams.”

Erickson also added that Toshiba’s techniques are improving hospital efficiency.  For example, by not using contrast the team has reduced the need for rescans that sometimes occurs when a bolus is missed, and they also do not need to run pre-exam lab tests on patients to evaluate renal function.

Gadolinium-based contrast agents, the most common contrast agents used for MRA, have been directly linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis or nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NSF/NFD) a sometimes fatal skin disease that occurs in patients with renal insufficiency.  To combat this issue, Toshiba developed the industry’s only full suite of advanced contrast-free MRA techniques that are available on the entire Vantage MR product line.  These techniques include Fresh Blood Imaging (FBI), Contrast-free Improved Angiography (CIA), Time-Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse (Time-SLIP) and Time and Space Angiography (TSA).