The technology behind radiation safety during interventional procedures is changing. There are new technologies, new radiation-saving modalities available that dramatically reduce the risk of radiation exposure to not only the physician and staff, but to the patient as well. The existing best practices for radiation safety are still important, but so too is the latest advanced technology and the improved protection it provides.
The use of ionizing radiation during interventional procedures is an indispensable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of several medical conditions. Ionizing radiation is used in such cases because it can penetrate tissue and an image can then be captured on a device – on a flat panel detector. That image is available to the interventionalist as a live video during a procedure. But this advanced imaging comes with a price as the risks associated with radiation are well documented.
There are different techniques and best practices that can help reduce radiation exposure. The as-low-as-reasonably-achievable (ALARA) principles of radiation safety rely mainly on guidelines and training of medical personnel. However, the effectiveness of these efforts varies in practice patterns, the complexity of procedures, and patient characteristics. These factors combine to hinder ALARA effectiveness. Beyond these principles of time, distance, and shielding there should be more. There is more. There is technology.
But is all technology the same? Despite the claims of many manufacturers and despite the misperceptions of many professionals in healthcare, the unfortunate answer is no. Not all technology is the same. Not all technology provides the same radiation protection.
Interventional cases are often done using a full field of view (FOV) instead of the physician’s actual region of interest (ROI). This exposes the patient to unnecessary radiation and the physician and staff to additional scatter radiation.
Primary collimation is the narrowing of the x-ray beam to part of the anatomy. The restriction of the beam, often manually controlled, reduces the surface area of the patient that is subjected to radiation and, thus, reduces the risk of scatter radiation to the physician and staff. Collimation has long been strongly recommended to reduce radiation dose while still producing high-quality images. But what about secondary collimation?
Artificial intelligence (AI) takes collimation to the next level. AI can establish and control the ROI during an interventional procedure – allowing the physician to focus more on their work and on their patient. By monitoring the ROI, AI can automatically optimize dynamic, high-speed secondary collimation that dramatically reduces the radiation exposure in the room. AI does this far faster than what is manageable by human operators and is adaptive to the changing ROIs of interventional procedures.
But how does it work?
During an interventional case, Omega’s unique AI-enabled technology immediately and automatically detects the ROI of the interventionalist. The AI system follows the movement of devices (endoscopes, catheters, etc.) to maintain and adjust the ROI. The process is automatic and hands-free – reducing distractions and input requirements from the physician or staff without disrupting workflow.
The system leverages an ultra-fast secondary collimator that automatically optimizes the shutter location, size, and geometry – the ROI – up to 30 frames a second. The dynamic secondary collimator blocks – not just filters but blocks – radiation to the peripheral (FOV) anatomy outside of the ROI – exposing it to a dramatically reduced rate of radiation pulses. Advanced control systems and image processing opens the primary collimator at a set rate to take a full FOV image that is then seamlessly integrated with the dynamic ROI image. The FOV image provides, in essence, a road map of the peripheral anatomy for the physician while the ROI image provides the exceptional image quality the interventionalist needs.
The advantages are obvious – the patient is subjected to dramatically reduced radiation exposure which also reduces the scatter radiation to physicians and staff.
AI image-guided ROI systems are proven to be safer than non-AI systems and are quickly becoming the new standard of care for interventional imaging. The publications and science on the advantages of AI are clear and proven in a direct comparison between an Omega AI image-guided ROI system and a competitor’s non-ROI system. This new AI/ROI modality obsoletes status quo conventional non-AI systems. Omega has established a new standard of radiation protection.
AI image-guided interventional systems are proven to reduce radiation exposure by up to 84%. This reduction is in addition to any current ALARA best practices for radiation safety and far better than any conventional non-AI system. Omega’s AI-enabled systems go beyond merely managing radiation to provide an actual reduction in dose. The result is a groundbreaking solution that provides safer healthcare for both patients and staff.