ACR campaign to expand to interventionalists

The American College of Radiology (Reston, Virginia) reported that the Image Gently campaign will provide accessible online teaching materials and checklists to help interventional radiology providers use the lowest dose necessary to perform interventional procedures on children.

"Interventional or image guided, minimally invasive surgeries are increasingly replacing more invasive techniques. This latest extension of the Image Gently campaign can give interventional providers real world, practical guidance regarding how they can help ensure that the radiation dose administered to the patients is as low as possible given the particular circumstances of each case," said Marilyn Goske, MD, chair of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging.

"Our goal is to ensure that every facility uses appropriate dose reduction techniques when performing imaging and interventional procedures in children," said Diane Mayo, president of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. "The technique must always be matched to the size and needs of the child."

Insurer backs eNO treatment for asthma

Aerocrine (Solina, Sweden) reported that CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest health care insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., has adopted a policy stating that measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) is considered medically necessary in the management of asthma patients.

Uncontrolled asthma is one of the most prevalent chronic medical conditions in the U.S., responsible for millions of emergency room visits, days lost at work and school, and billions of dollars in direct and indirect costs. Airway inflammation can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks, and long-term inflammation can drastically compromise lung capacity over a lifetime.

The founders of Aerocrine made the original discovery that nitric oxide in exhaled breath is elevated in patients with asthma and the company has since pioneered the development of the method to monitor airway inflammation by measuring eNO.

In its July 2009 policy update, CareFirst refers to studies stating that eNO can be used effectively to predict and avoid relapse and to monitor compliance with medication, as well as improving diagnosis and indicate possible environmental influences affecting the patient. Concluding that eNO measurement is the only routine clinical test for airway inflammation that can be performed conveniently in the office setting, CareFirst makes specific reference to Aerocrine's portable eNO measurement device Niox Mino. "CareFirst's policy is an important stepping stone towards improved asthma treatment in the United States," said Chip Neff, president of Aerocrine.