Two of the three projects which won a poster prize for the BREATH site at this year’s DZL Annual Meeting have already been presented. The third project was submitted by Dr. Sarah Scharm, a junior scientist in Prof. Dr. Hoen-oh Shin’s working group, and it deals with a new scan protocol for CT examinations of the lung, which should offer more diagnostic possibilities without incurring any additional costs.
When making a diagnosis for pulmonary diseases, imaging techniques such as computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) play a significant role, since they provide a non-invasive possibility to examine disease specifics. Professor Hoen-oh Shin’s working group at the Institute of Interventional and Diagnostic Radiology at the MHH has developed a protocol optimized for photon-counting CT to comprehensively analyse the morphology, function and the pulmonary vessels. Dr. Scharm has evaluated this protocol and for this she was awarded the Platform Imaging Poster Prize.
The newly developed protocol is made up of two study sections: one shot at maximum inspiration when administering contrast media and one shot at expiration after 5 minutes delay. After several post-processing steps, alongside the standard images to evaluate the structure of the lungs, further images can be calculated. Amongst these are functional images, showing the ventilation, perfusion and a so-called „late enhancement“, but also a CT angiograph, with which the pulmonary vascular tree can be assessed. In 85% of the CT scans, the named parameters could all be created and the necessary radiation dose was clearly below the diagnostic reference level for a single CT scan.
Patients with the following symptoms were included: CTEPH (chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension), post-COVID-19, non-specific interstitial pulmonary diseases, collagenosis, IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) and non-specific/unknown pulmonary function restrictions. For all the parameters calculated from the images (lung volume and density, ventilation, perfusion and late enhancement) there were significant differences between at least two of the specified groups of diseases.
„Our results show that the new scan protocol is a very promising tool as it can be employed in daily clinical practice without any additional equipment. It allows simultaneous acquisition and comprehensive analysis of lung morphology and function“, says Scharm about the possible uses for the developed protocol.
We wish Dr. Scharm and her colleagues continued success in the further development and practical use of the new scan protocol. Imaging techniques that are not complicated to use in practice and which give a better insight into disease specifics are the starting point for an optimized therapy for those affected.