Other diagnostic services

Electromyography(EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) at Chandan Hospital is an electro-diagnostic medicine technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. EMG is performed using an instrument called an electromyograph to produce a record called an electromyogram. An electromyograph detects the electric potential generated by muscle cells when these cells are electrically or neurologically activated. The signals can be analyzed to detect medical abnormalities, activation level, or recruitment order, or to analyze the biomechanics of patients.

Medical uses :

EMG testing has a variety of clinical and biomedical applications. EMG is used as a diagnostics tool for identifying neuromuscular diseasesand disorders of motor control.

Except in the case of some purely primary myopathic conditions EMG is usually performed with another electrodiagnostic medicine test that measures the conducting function of nerves. This is called a nerve conduction studies (NCS). Needle EMG and NCSs are typically indicated when there is pain in the limbs, weakness from spinal nerve compression, or concern about some other neurologic injury or disorder. Spinal nerve injury does not cause neck, mid back pain or low back pain, and for this reason, evidence has not shown EMG or NCS to be helpful in diagnosing causes of axial lumbar pain, thoracic pain, or cervical spine pain. Needle EMG may aid with the diagnosis of nerve compression or injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), nerve root injury (such as sciatica), and with other problems of the muscles or nerves. Less common medical conditions include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and muscular dystrophy.

Technique :

Skin preparation and risks :

The first step before insertion of the needle electrode is skin preparation. This typically involves simply cleaning the skin with an alcohol pad.

The actual placement of the needle electrode can be difficult and depends on a number of factors, such as specific muscle selection and the size of that muscle. Proper needle EMG placement is very important for accurate representation of the muscle of interest, although EMG is more effective on superficial muscles as it is unable to bypass the action potentials of superficial muscles and detect deeper muscles. Also, the more body fat an individual has, the weaker the EMG signal. When placing the EMG sensor, the ideal location is at the belly of the muscle: the longitudinal midline. The belly of the muscle can also be thought of as in-between the motor point (middle) of the muscle and the tendonus insertion point.

Surface and intramuscular EMG recording electrodes :

There are two kinds of EMG: surface EMG and intramuscular EMG.

Surface EMG

Surface EMG assesses muscle function by recording muscle activity from the surface above the muscle on the skin. Surface electrodes are able to provide only a limited assessment of the muscle activity. Surface EMG can be recorded by a pair of electrodes or by a more complex array of multiple electrodes. More than one electrode is needed because EMG recordings display the potential difference (voltage difference) between two separate electrodes. Limitations of this approach are the fact that surface electrode recordings are restricted to superficial muscles, are influenced by the depth of the subcutaneous tissue at the site of the recording which can be highly variable depending of the weight of a patient, and cannot reliably discriminate between the discharges of adjacent muscles.

Intramuscular EMG

Intramuscular EMG can be performed using a variety of different types of recording electrodes. The simplest approach is a monopolar needle electrode. This can be a fine wire inserted into a muscle with a surface electrode as a reference; or two fine wires inserted into muscle referenced to each other. Most commonly fine wire recordings are for research or kinesiology studies. Diagnostic monopolar EMG electrodes are typically insulated and stiff enough to penetrate skin, with only the tip exposed using a surface electrode for reference. Needles for injecting therapeutic botulinum toxin or phenol are typically monopolar electrodes that use a surface reference, in this case, however, the metal shaft of a hypodermic needle, insulated so that only the tip is exposed, is used both to record signals and to inject. Slightly more complex in design is the concentric needle electrode. These needles have a fine wire, embedded in a layer of insulation that fills the barrel of a hypodermic needle, that has an exposed shaft, and the shaft serves as the reference electrode. The exposed tip of the fine wire serves as the active electrode. As a result of this configuration, signals tend to be smaller when recorded from a concentric electrode than when recorded from a monopolar electrode and they are more resistant to electrical artifacts from tissue and measurements tend to be somewhat more reliable. However, because the shaft is exposed throughout its length, superficial muscle activity can contaminate the recording of deeper muscles. Single fiber EMG needle electrodes are designed to have very tiny recording areas, and allow for the discharges of individual muscle fibers to be discriminated.

To perform intramuscular EMG, typically either a monopolar or concentric needle electrode is inserted through the skin into the muscle tissue. The needle is then moved to multiple spots within a relaxed muscle to evaluate both insertional activity and resting activity in the muscle. Normal muscles exhibit a brief burst of muscle fiber activation when stimulated by needle movement, but this rarely lasts more than 100ms. The two most common pathologic types of resting activity in muscle are fasciculation and fibrillation potentials. A fasciculation potential is an involuntary activation of a motor unit within the muscle, sometimes visible with the naked eye as a muscle twitch or by surface electrodes. Fibrillations, however, are only detected by needle EMG, and represent the isolated activation of individual muscle fibers, usually as the result of nerve or muscle disease. Often, fibrillations are triggered by needle movement (insertional activity) and persist for several seconds or more after the movement ceases.

After assessing resting and insertional activity, the electromyographer assess the activity of muscle during voluntary contraction. The shape, size, and frequency of the resulting electrical signals are judged. Then the electrode is retracted a few millimetres, and again the activity is analyzed. This is repeated, sometimes until data on 10–20 motor units have been collected in order to draw conclusions about motor unit function. Each electrode track gives only a very local picture of the activity of the whole muscle. Because skeletal muscles differ in the inner structure, the electrode has to be placed at various locations to obtain an accurate study.

Single fiber electromyography assesses the delay between the contractions of individual muscle fibers within a motor unit and is a sensitive test for dysfunction of the neuromuscular junction caused by drugs, poisons, or diseases such as myasthenia gravis. The technique is complicated and typically only performed by individuals with special advanced training.

Maximal voluntary contraction:

One basic function of EMG is to see how well a muscle can be activated. The most common way that can be determined is by performing a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the muscle that is being tested.

Muscle force, which is measured mechanically, typically correlates highly with measures of EMG activation of muscle. Most commonly this is assessed with surface electrodes, but it should be recognized that these typically only record from muscle fibers in close approximation to the surface.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is a minimally-invasive procedure to remove stones from the kidney by a small puncture wound (up to about 1 cm) through the skin. It is most suitable to remove stones of more than 2 cm in size and which are present near the pelvic region. It is usually done under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia.

Procedure

A retrograde pyelogram is done to locate the stone in the kidney. With a small 1 centimeter incision in the loin, the percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCN) needle is passed into the pelvis of the kidney. The position of the needle is confirmed by fluoroscopy. A guide wire is passed through the needle into the pelvis. The needle is then withdrawn with the guide wire still inside the pelvis. Over the guide wire the dilators are passed and a working sheath is introduced. A nephroscope is then passed inside and small stones taken out. In case the stone is big it may first have to be crushed using ultrasound probes and then the stone fragments removed.

The most difficult portion of the procedure is creating the tract between the kidney and the flank skin. Most of the time this is achieved by advancing a needle from the flank skin into the kidney, known as the 'antegrade' technique. A 'retrograde' technique has recently been updated wherein a thin wire is passed from inside the kidney to outside the flank with the aid of a flexible ureteroscope. This technique may reduce radiation exposure for patient and surgeon.

Allergy & Allergy Test

Allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to something in the environment that usually causes little or no problem in most people. These diseases include hay fever, food allergies, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, and anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include red eyes, an itchy rash, sneezing, a runny nose, shortness of breath, or swelling. Food intolerances and food poisoning are separate conditions.

Common allergens include pollen and certain food. Metals and other substances may also cause problems. Food, insect stings, and medications are common causes of severe reactions. Their development is due to both genetic and environmental factors. The underlying mechanism involves immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE), part of the body's immune system, binding to an allergen and then to a receptor on mast cells or basophils where it triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine. Diagnosis is typically based on a person's medical history. Further testing of the skin or blood may be useful in certain cases.Positive tests, however, may not mean there is a significant allergy to the substance in question.

Treatments for allergies include avoiding known allergens and the use of medications such as steroids and antihistamines. In severe reactions injectable adrenaline (epinephrine) is recommended. Allergen immunotherapy, which gradually exposes people to larger and larger amounts of allergen, is useful for some types of allergies such as hay fever and reactions to insect bites. Its use in food allergies is unclear.

Causes :

Many allergens such as dust or pollen are airborne particles. In these cases, symptoms arise in areas in contact with air, such as eyes, nose, and lungs. For instance, allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, causes irritation of the nose, sneezing, itching, and redness of the eyes. Inhaled allergens can also lead to increased production of mucus in the lungs, shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.

Beside from these ambient allergens, allergic reactions can result from foods, insect stings, and reactions to medications like aspirin and antibiotics such as penicillin. Symptoms of food allergy include abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, and swelling of the skin during hives. Food allergies rarely cause respiratory (asthmatic) reactions, or rhinitis. Insect stings, food, antibiotics, and certain medicines may produce a systemic allergic response that is also called anaphylaxis; multiple organ systems can be affected, including the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system. Depending on the rate of severity, anaphylaxis can include skin reactions, bronchoconstriction, swelling, low blood pressure, coma, and death. This type of reaction can be triggered suddenly, or the onset can be delayed. The nature of anaphylaxis is such that the reaction can seem to be subsiding, but may recur throughout a period of time.

Substances that come into contact with the skin, such as latex, are also common causes of allergic reactions, known as contact dermatitis or eczema. Skin allergies frequently cause rashes, or swelling and inflammation within the skin, in what is known as a "weal and flare" reaction characteristic of hives and angioedema.

With insect stings a large local reaction may occur (an area of skin redness greater than 10 cm in size). It can last one to two days. This reaction may also occur after immunotherapy.

Risk factors :

Host factors

Include heredity, sex, race, and age, with heredity being by far the most significant. However, there have been recent increases in the incidence of allergic disorders that cannot be explained by genetic factors alone.

Environmental Factors

Include infectious diseases during early childhood, environmental pollution, allergen levels, and dietary changes.

Foods

A wide variety of foods can cause allergic reactions, but 90% of allergic responses to foods are caused by cow's milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Milk-protein allergies are most common in children.

Latex

Latex can trigger an IgE-mediated cutaneous, respiratory, and systemic reaction. The prevalence of latex allergy is less than one percent. The most prevalent response to latex is an allergic contact dermatitis, a delayed hypersensitive reaction appearing as dry, crusted lesions. This reaction usually lasts 48–96 hours. Sweating or rubbing the area under the glove aggravates the lesions, possibly leading to ulcerations. Anaphylactic reactions occur most often in sensitive patients who have been exposed to a surgeon's latex gloves during abdominal surgery, but other mucosal exposures, such as dental procedures, can also produce systemic reactions.

Affected organ Symptom
Sinuses Allergic sinusitis
Eyes Redness and itching of the conjunctiva (allergic conjunctivitis, watery)
Airways Sneezing, coughing, bronchoconstriction, wheezing and dyspnea, sometimes outright attacks of asthma, in severe cases the airway constricts due to swelling known as laryngeal oedema
Ears Feeling of fullness, possibly pain, and impaired hearing due to the lack of eustachian tube drainage.
Skin Rashes, such as eczema and hives (urticaria)
Gastrointestinal tract Abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea
Medications

About 10% of people report that they are allergic to penicillin; however, 90% turn out not to be. Serious allergies only occur in about 0.03%.

Toxins interacting with proteins

Another non-food protein reaction, urushiol-induced contact dermatitis, originates after contact with poison ivy, eastern poison oak, western poison oak, or poison sumac

Genetics

Allergic diseases are strongly familial: identical twins are likely to have the same allergic diseases about 70% of the time; the same allergy occurs about 40% of the time in non-identical twins. Allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children, and those children's allergies are likely to be more severe than those in children of non-allergic parents.

Hygiene hypothesis

The hygiene hypothesis was developed to explain the observation that hay fever and eczema, both allergic diseases, were less common in children from larger families, which were, it is presumed, exposed to more infectious agents through their siblings, than in children from families with only one child. It is used to explain the increase in allergic diseases that have been seen since industrialization, and the higher incidence of allergic diseases in more developed countries.

Stress

Chronic stress can aggravate allergic conditions

Diagnosis :

Allergy testing can help confirm or rule out allergies. To assess the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies, two different methods can be used: a skin prick test, or an allergy blood test. Both methods are recommended, and they have similar diagnostic value. Skin prick tests and blood tests are equally cost-effective, and health economic evidence shows that both tests were cost-effective compared with no test.

Blood testing

An allergy blood test is quick and simple. Unlike skin-prick testing, a blood test can be performed irrespective of age, skin condition, medication, symptom, disease activity, and pregnancy. Adults and children of any age can take an allergy blood test. For babies and very young children, a single needle stick for allergy blood testing is often more gentle than several skin tests. A sample of the patient's blood is sent to a laboratory for analysis, and the results are sent back a few days later. Multiple allergens can be detected with a single blood sample. Allergy blood tests are very safe, since the person is not exposed to any allergens during the testing procedure.

Management :

Management of allergies typically involves avoiding what triggers the allergy and medications to improve the symptoms. Allergen immunotherapy may be useful for some types of allergies.

Medication

Several medications may be used to block the action of allergic mediators, or to prevent activation of cells and degranulation processes. These include antihistamines, glucocorticoids, epinephrine (adrenaline), mast cell stabilizers, and antileukotriene agents are common treatments of allergic diseases. Anti-cholinergics, decongestants, and other compounds thought to impair eosinophil chemotaxis, are also commonly used.

Immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy is useful for environmental allergies, allergies to insect bites, and asthma. Its benefit for food allergies is unclear and thus not recommended. Immunotherapy involves exposing people to larger and larger amounts of allergen in an effort to change the immune system's response.

Meta-analyses have found that injections of allergens under the skin is effective in the treatment in allergic rhinitis in children and in asthma. The benefits may last for years after treatment is stopped. It is generally safe and effective for allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, allergic forms of asthma, and stinging insects.

Auditory Brainstem Response

The brainstem evoked response audiometry (BERA) is an objective neurophysiological method for the evaluation of the hearing threshold and diagnosing retrocochlear lesions. The aim of the study is to investigate the hearing level in children with suspected hearing loss or pathological speech development.The auditory brainstem response (ABR) is an auditory evoked potential extracted from ongoing electrical activity in the brain and recorded via electrodes placed on the scalp. The measured recording is a series of six to seven vertex positive waves of which I through V are evaluated. The ABR is considered an exogenous response because it is dependent upon external factors.

Procedure :

The stimulus either in the form of click or tone pip is transmitted to the ear via a transducer placed in the insert ear phone or head phone. The wave froms of impulses generated at the level of brain stem are recorded by the placement of electrodes over the scalp.

Electrode placement: Since the electrodes should be placed over the head, the hair must be oil free. The patient should be instructed to have shampoo bath before coming for investigation. The standard electrode configuration for BERA involves placing a non inverting electrode over the vertex of the head, and inverting electrodes placed over the ear lobe or mastoid prominence. One more earthing electrode is placed over the forehead. This earthing electrode is important for proper functioning of preamplifier.

The auditory structures that generate the auditory brainstem response are believed to be as follows :
  • Wave I through III – generated by the auditory branch of cranial nerve VIII and lower
  • Wave IV and V – generated by the upper brainstem
  • More in depth location – wave I originates from the dendrites of the auditory nerve fibers, wave II from the cochlear nucleus, III showing activity in the superior olivary complex, and wave IV–V associated with the lateral lemniscus.
  • There are two different types of auditory evoked potential tests. These tests are being used as an adjunct to routine diagnostic testing. The two types of auditory evoked potential tests are: 1. Auditory brain stem response and 2. Auditory cortical response.
  • Auditory cortical response: Records the impulses generated by brain in response to tone stimuli. It is recorded using cortical response audiometry (CERA). CERA is very useful for threshold estimation of hearing, whereas BERA is highly useful for objective threshold estimation of hearing as well as differential diagnostic purposes. These responses are more generalised and originate from the brain cortex occurring between 50 - 300 milliseconds after the onset of stimulation. Since these responses are generally elicited with a tone burst lasting approximately for about 200 milliseconds, its responses are highly frequency specific. This is in contrast to BERA because brain stem responses are evoked by click stimuli and are not frequency specific. Interpretation of CERA is easy and straightforward. Threshold is defined as the minimum stimulus level that gives a consistent and identifiable response. The patient must be lying still during the recording process. This test is hence unsuitable for young children who may not co-operate
Differences between BERA and CERA :
BERA CERA
Recording is made from brain stem potentials Recording is made from cortical potentials
Click stimulus is used Tone stimulus is used
Responses are not frequnency specific Responses are frequency specific
Can be performed in awake and restless patients The patient must lie still through out the process
Responses begin after 1 - 10 milliseconds after stimuli Response begins after 50 - 300 milliseconds after stimulation
Suitable for even young children Unsuitable for children

Use :

  • 1. It is an effective screening tool for evaluating cases of deafness due to retrocochlear pathology i.e. (Acoustic schwannoma). An abnormal BERA is an indication for MRI scan.
  • 2. Used in screening newborns for deafness
  • 3. Used for intraoperative monitoring of central and peripheral nervous system
  • 4. Monitoting patients in intensive care units
  • 5. Diagnosing suspected demyelinated disorders
BERA findings suggestive of retrocochlear pathology :
  • 1. Latency differences between interaural wave 5 (prolonged in cases of retrocochlear pathology)
  • 2. Waves I - V interaural latency differences - prolonged
  • 3. Absolute latency of wave V - prolonged
  • 4. Absence of brain stem response in the affected ear

BERA has 90% sensitivity and 80% specificity in identifying cases of acoustic schwannoma. The sensitivity increases in proportion to the size of the tumor.

Criteria for screening newborn babies using BERA:
  • 1. Parental concern about hearing levels in their child
  • 2. Family history of hearing loss
  • 3. Pre and post natal infections
  • 4. Low birth weight babies
  • 5. Hyperbilirubinemia
  • 6. Cranio facial deformities
  • 7. Head injury
  • 8. Persistent otitis media
  • 9. Exposure to ototoxic drugs

Cervical Cancer, PAP Smear& Vaccination

Cervical cancer is a cancer arising from the cervix. It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Early on, typically no symptoms are seen. Later symptoms may include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, or pain during sexual intercourse. While bleeding after sex may not be serious, it may also indicate the presence of cervical cancer.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection appears to be involved in the development of more than 90% of cases; most people who have had HPV infections, however, do not develop cervical cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, a weak immune system, birth control pills, starting sex at a young age, and having many sexual partners, but these are less important. Cervical cancer typically develops from precancerous changes over 10 to 20 years. About 90% of cervical cancer cases are squamous cell carcinomas, 10% are adenocarcinoma, and a small number are other types. Diagnosis is typically by cervical screening followed by a biopsy. Medical imaging is then done to determine whether or not the cancer has spread.

HPV vaccines protect against between two and seven high-risk strains of this family of viruses and may prevent up to 90% of cervical cancers. As a risk of cancer still exists, guidelines recommend continuing regular Pap smears. Other methods of prevention include: having few or no sexual partners and the use of condoms. Cervical cancer screening using the Pap smear or acetic acid can identify precancerous changes which when treated can prevent the development of cancer. Treatment of cervical cancer may consist of some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Worldwide, cervical cancer is both the fourth-most common cause of cancer and the fourth-most common cause of death from cancer in women.

Signs and symptoms :

The early stages of cervical cancer may be completely free of symptoms. Vaginal bleeding, contact bleeding (one most common form being bleeding after sexual intercourse), or (rarely) a vaginal mass may indicate the presence of malignancy. Also, moderate pain during sexual intercourse and vaginal discharge are symptoms of cervical cancer. In advanced disease, metastases may be present in the abdomen, lungs, or elsewhere.

Symptoms of advanced cervical cancer may include: loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, pelvic pain, back pain, leg pain, swollen legs, heavy vaginal bleeding, bone fractures, and/or (rarely) leakage of urine or feces from the vagina. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam is a common symptom of cervical cancer.

Causes :

In most cases, cells infected with the HPV virus heal on their own. In some cases, however, the virus continues to spread and becomes an invasive cancer.

Cervix in relation to upper part of vagina and posterior portion of uterus., showing difference in covering epithelium of inner structures.

Infection with some types of HPV is the greatest risk factor for cervical cancer, followed by smoking. HIV infection is also a risk factor. Not all of the causes of cervical cancer are known, however, and several other contributing factors have been implicated.

Human papillomavirus :

Human papillomavirus types 16 and 18 are the cause of 75% of cervical cancer cases globally, while 31 and 45 are the causes of another 10%.Women who have many sexual partners (or who have sex with men who have had many other partners) have a greater risk.

Genital warts, which are a form of benigntumor of epithelial cells, are also caused by various strains of HPV. However, these serotypes are usually not related to cervical cancer. It is common to have multiple strains at the same time, including those that can cause cervical cancer along with those that cause warts.

Infection with HPV is generally believed to be required for cervical cancer to occur.

Smoking :

Cigarette smoking, both active and passive, increases the risk of cervical cancer. Among HPV-infected women, current and former smokers have roughly two to three times the incidence of invasive cancer. Passive smoking is also associated with increased risk, but to a lesser extent.Smoking has also been linked to the development of cervical cancer. Smoking can increase the risk in women a few different ways, which can be by direct and indirect methods of inducing cervical cancer. A direct way of contracting this cancer is a smoker has a higher chance of CIN3 occurring which has the potential of forming cervical cancer. When CIN3 lesions lead to cancer, most of them have the assistance of the HPV virus, but that is not always the case, which is why it can be considered a direct link to cervical cancer. Heavy smoking and long-term smoking seem to have more of a risk of getting the CIN3 lesions than lighter smoking or not smoking at all. Although smoking has been linked to cervical cancer, it aids in the development of HPV which is the leading cause of this type of cancer. Also, not only does it aid in the development of HPV, but also if the woman is already HPV-positive, she is at an even greater likelihood of contracting cervical cancer.

Oral contraceptives :

Long-term use of oral contraceptives is associated with increased risk of cervical cancer. Women who have used oral contraceptives for 5 to 9 years have about three times the incidence of invasive cancer, and those who used them for 10 years or longer have about four times the risk.

Multiple pregnancies :

Having many pregnancies is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer. Among HPV-infected women, those who have had seven or more full-term pregnancies have around four times the risk of cancer compared with women with no pregnancies, and two to three times the risk of women who have had one or two full-term pregnancies.

Diagnosis :

Cervical cancer seen on a T2-weighted saggital MR image of the pelvis.

Biopsy(Pap Smear) :

The Pap smear can be used as a screening test, but is false negative in up to 50% of cases of cervical cancer. Confirmation of the diagnosis of cervical cancer or precancerous requires a biopsy of the cervix. This is often done through colposcopy, a magnified visual inspection of the cervix aided by using a dilute acetic acid (e.g. vinegar) solution to highlight abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix.

This large squamous carcinoma (bottom of picture) has obliterated the cervix and invaded the lower uterine segment. The uterus also has a round leiomyoma up higher.

Precancerous lesions :

Histopathologic image (H&E stain) of carcinoma in situ (also called CIN III), stage 0: The normal architecture of stratified squamous epithelium is replaced by irregular cells that extend throughout its full thickness. Normal columnar epithelium is also seen.

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, the potential precursor to cervical cancer, is often diagnosed on examination of cervical biopsies by a pathologist. For premalignant dysplastic changes, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grading is used.

Cancer subtypes :

Histologic subtypes of invasive cervical carcinoma include the following: Though squamous cell carcinoma is the cervical cancer with the most incidence, the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the cervix has been increasing in recent decades.

  • squamous cell carcinoma (about 80-85%)
  • adenocarcinoma (about 15%)
  • adenosquamous carcinoma
  • small cell carcinoma
  • neuroendocrine tumour
  • glassy cell carcinoma
  • villoglandular adenocarcinoma

Noncarcinoma malignancies which can rarely occur in the cervix include melanoma and lymphoma.

Staging :

Cervical cancer is staging is based on clinical examination, rather than surgical findings. It allows only these diagnostic tests to be used in determining the stage: palpation, inspection, colposcopy, endocervicalcurettage, hysteroscopy, cystoscopy, proctoscopy, intravenous urography, and X-ray examination of the lungs and skeleton, and cervical conization.

Stage 1A cervical cancer

Stage 1B cervical cancer

Stage 2A cervical cancer

Stage 2B cervical cancer

Stage 3B cervical cancer

Stage 4A cervical cancer

Stage 4B cervical cancer

Prevention :

Checking the cervix by the Pap smear, for cervical cancer has been credited with dramatically reducing the number of cases of and mortality from cervical cancer in developed countries.[ Pap smear screening every 3–5 years with appropriate follow-up can reduce cervical cancer incidence up to 80%. Abnormal results may suggest the presence of precancerous changes, allowing examination and possible preventive treatment. The age at which to start screening ranges between 20 and 30 years of age, "but preferentially not before age 25 or 30 years".

Barrier protection :

Barrier protection and/or spermicidal gel use during sexual intercourse decreases cancer risk. Condoms offer protection against cervical cancer. Evidence on whether condoms protect against HPV infection is mixed, but they may protect against genital warts and the precursors to cervical cancer. They also provide protection against other STIs, such as HIV and Chlamydia, which are associated with greater risks of developing cervical cancer.

Condoms may also be useful in treating potentially precancerous changes in the cervix. Exposure to semen appears to increase the risk of precancerous changes (CIN 3), and use of condoms helps to cause these changes to regress and helps clear HPV. One study suggests that prostaglandin in semen may fuel the growth of cervical and uterine tumors and that affected women may benefit from the use of condoms.Abstinence also prevents HPV infection.

Vaccination :

Two HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) reduce the risk of cancerous or precancerous changes of the cervix and perineum by about 93% and 62%, respectively. The vaccines are between 92% and 100% effective against HPV 16 and 18 up to at least 8 years.

HPV vaccines are typically given to age 9 to 26 as the vaccine is only effective if given before infection occurs. The vaccines have been shown to be effective for at least 4 to 6 years, and they are believed to be effective for longer.

Nutrition :

Vitamin A is associated with a lower risk as are vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.

Treatment :

Cervical cryotherapy

The treatment of cervical cancer varies worldwide, largely due to access to surgeons skilled in radical pelvic surgery, and the emergence of "fertility-sparing therapy" in developed nations. Because cervical cancers are radiosensitive, radiation may be used in all stages where surgical options do not exist.Microinvasive cancer (stage IA) may be treated by hysterectomy (removal of the whole uterus including part of the vagina). For stage IA2, the lymph nodes are removed, as well. Alternatives include local surgical procedures such as a loop electrical excision procedure or cone biopsy. For 1A1 disease, a cone biopsy (cervical conization) is considered curative.

If a cone biopsy does not produce clear margins (findings on biopsy showing that the tumor is surrounded by cancer free tissue, suggesting all of the tumor is removed), one more possible treatment option for women who want to preserve their fertility is a trachelectomy. This attempts to surgically remove the cancer while preserving the ovaries and uterus, providing for a more conservative operation than a hysterectomy. It is a viable option for those in stage I cervical cancer which has not spread; however, it is not yet considered a standard of care, as few doctors are skilled in this procedure. Even the most experienced surgeon cannot promise that a trachelectomy can be performed until after surgical microscopic examination, as the extent of the spread of cancer is unknown. If the surgeon is not able to microscopically confirm clear margins of cervical tissue once the woman is under general anesthesia in the operating room, a hysterectomy may still be needed. This can only be done during the same operation if the woman has given prior consent. Due to the possible risk of cancer spread to the lymph nodes in stage 1b cancers and some stage 1a cancers, the surgeon may also need to remove some lymph nodes from around the uterus for pathologic evaluation.

A radical trachelectomy can be performed abdominally or vaginally and opinions are conflicting as to which is better. A radical abdominal trachelectomy with lymphadenectomy usually only requires a two- to three-day hospital stay, and most women recover very quickly (about six weeks). Complications are uncommon, although women who are able to conceive after surgery are susceptible to preterm labor and possible late miscarriage. Wait at least one year is generally recommended before attempting to become pregnant after surgery. Recurrence in the residual cervix is very rare if the cancer has been cleared with the trachelectomy. Yet, women are recommended to practice vigilant prevention and follow-up care including Pap screenings/colposcopy, with biopsies of the remaining lower uterine segment as needed (every 3–4 months for at least 5 years) to monitor for any recurrence in addition to minimizing any new exposures to HPV through safe sex practices until one is actively trying to conceive.

Early stages (IB1 and IIA less than 4 cm) can be treated with radical hysterectomy with removal of the lymph nodes or radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is given as external beam radiotherapy to the pelvis and brachytherapy (internal radiation). Women treated with surgery who have high-risk features found on pathologic examination are given radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy to reduce the risk of relapse.

Brachytherapy for cervical cancer Larger early-stage tumors (IB2 and IIA more than 4 cm) may be treated with radiation therapy and cisplatin-based chemotherapy, hysterectomy (which then usually requires adjuvant radiation therapy), or cisplatin chemotherapy followed by hysterectomy. When cisplatin is present, it is thought to be the most active single agent in periodic diseases.

Advanced-stage tumors (IIB-IVA) are treated with radiation therapy and cisplatin-based chemotherapy.

For surgery to be curative, the entire cancer must be removed with no cancer found at the margins of the removed tissue on examination under a microscope.

Prognosis :

Prognosis depends on the stage of the cancer. The chance of a survival rate around 100% is high for women with microscopic forms of cervical cancer. With treatment, the five-year relative survival rate for the earliest stage of invasive cervical cancer is 92%, and the overall (all stages combined) five-year survival rate is about 72%. These statistics may be improved when applied to women newly diagnosed, bearing in mind that these outcomes may be partly based on the state of treatment five years ago when the women studied were first diagnosed.

With treatment, 80 to 90% of women with stage I cancer and 60 to 75% of those with stage II cancer are alive 5 years after diagnosis. Survival rates decrease to 30 to 40% for women with stage III cancer and 15% or fewer of those with stage IV cancer 5 years after diagnosis.

According to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, survival improves when radiotherapy is combined with cisplatin-based chemotherapy.

As the cancer metastasizes to other parts of the body, prognosis drops dramatically because treatment of local lesions is generally more effective than whole-body treatments such as chemotherapy.

Interval evaluation of the woman after therapy is imperative. Recurrent cervical cancer detected at its earliest stages might be successfully treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three. About 35% of women with invasive cervical cancer have persistent or recurrent disease after treatment.

Average years of potential life lost from cervical cancer are 25.3. Around 4,600 women were projected to die in 2001 in the US of cervical cancer, and the annual incidence was 13,000 in 2002 in the US, as calculated by SEER. Thus, the ratio of deaths to incidence is about 35.4%.Regular screening has meant that precancerous changes and early-stage cervical cancers have been detected and treated early.

Bone Mineral Density (BMD)

Bone density, or bone mineral density (BMD), is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. The concept is of mass of mineral per volume of bone (relating to density in the physics sense), although clinically it is measured by proxy according to optical density per square centimeter of bone surface upon imaging. Bone density measurement is used in clinical medicine as an indirect indicator of osteoporosis and fracture risk. It is measured by a procedure called densitometry. The measurement is painless and non-invasive and involves low radiation exposure. Measurements are most commonly made over the lumbar spine and over the upper part of the hip. The forearm may be scanned if the hip and lumbar spine are not accessible.

There is a statistical association between poor bone density and higher probability of fracture. Fractures of the legs and pelvis due to falls are a significant public health problem, especially in elderly women, leading to much medical cost, inability to live independently and even risk of death. Bone density measurements are used to screen people for osteoporosis risk and to identify those who might benefit from measures to improve bone strength.

Indications for Testing

The following are risk factors for low bone density and primary considerations for the need for a bone density test.

  • Females age 65 or older
  • Males age 70 or older
  • People over age 50 with any of the following:
    • previous bone fracture from minor trauma
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • low body weight
    • a parent with a hip fracture
  • Individuals with vertebral abnormalities.
  • Individuals receiving, or planning to receive, long-term glucocorticoid (steroid) therapy.
  • Individuals with primary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Individuals being monitored to assess the response or efficacy of an approved osteoporosis drug therapy.
  • Individuals with a history of eating disorders

Other considerations which related to risk of low bone density and the need for a test include smoking habits, drinking habits, the long-term use of corticosteroid drugs, and a vitamin D deficiency.

Types of Tests

DXA is currently the most widely used, but quantitative ultrasound (QUS) has been described as a more cost-effective approach to measure bone density. The DXA test works by measuring a specific bone or bones, usually the spine, hip, and wrist. The density of these bones is then compared with an average index based on age, sex, and size. The resulting comparison is used to determine risk for fractures and the stage of osteoporosis (if any) in an individual.

Average bone mineral density = BMC / W [g/cm2]
  • BMC = bone mineral content = g/cm
  • W = width at the scanned line

Interpretation

Results are generally scored by two measures, the T-score and the Z-score. Scores indicate the amount one's bone mineral density varies from the mean. Negative scores indicate lower bone density, and positive scores indicate higher.

T-score

The T-score is the relevant measure when screening for osteoporosis. It is the bone mineral density (BMD) at the site when compared to the young normal reference mean. It is a comparison of a patient's BMD to that of a healthy 30-year-old. The US standard is to use data for a 30-year-old of the same sex and ethnicity, but the WHO recommends using data for a 30-year-old white female for everyone. Values for 30-year-olds are used in post-menopausal women and men over age 50 because they better predict risk of future fracture. The criteria of the World Health Organization are:

  • Normal is a T-score of −1.0 or higher
  • Osteopenia is defined as between −1.0 and −2.5
  • Osteoporosis is defined as −2.5 or lower, meaning a bone density that is two and a half standard deviations below the mean of a 30-year-old man/woman.
Hip fractures per 1000 patient-years
WHO category Age 50–64 Age > 64 Overall
Normal 5.3 9.4 6.6
Osteopenia 11.4 19.6 15.7
Osteoporosis 22.4 46.6 40.6

Z-score

The Z-score is the comparison to the age-matched normal and is usually used in cases of severe osteoporosis. This is the number of standard deviations a patient's BMD differs from the average BMD of their age, sex, and ethnicity. This value is used in premenopausal women, men under the age of 50, and in children.[8] It is most useful when the score is less than 2 standard deviations below this normal. In this setting, it is helpful to scrutinize for coexisting illnesses or treatments that may contribute to osteoporosis such as glucocorticoid therapy, hyperparathyroidism, or alcoholism.

Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, a newly inverted nipple, or a red or scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.

It is recommended that screening for Breast Cancer should be done every two years in women 50 to 74 years old. The medications tamoxifen or raloxifenemay be used in an effort to prevent breast cancer in those who are at high risk of developing it. Surgical removal of both breasts is another preventative measure in some high risk women. In those who have been diagnosed with cancer, a number of treatments may be used, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Types of surgery vary from breast-conserving surgery to mastectomy. Breast reconstruction may take place at the time of surgery or at a later date. Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 25% of all cases. In 2012 it resulted in 1.68 million new cases and 522,000 deaths. It is more common in developed countries and is more than 100 times more common in women than in men.

Risk Factors

Modifiable risk factors- things that people can change themselves, such as consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Fixed risk factors- things that cannot be changed, such as age and biological sex. The primary risk factors for breast cancer are being female and older age. Other potential risk factors include genetics, lack of childbearing or lack of breastfeeding, higher levels of certain hormones, certain dietary patterns, and obesity. One study indicates that exposure to light pollution is a risk factor for the development of breast cancer.

Lifestyle:

Smoking tobacco appears to increase the risk of breast cancer, with the greater the amount smoked and the earlier in life that smoking began, the higher the risk. In those who are long-term smokers, the risk is increased 35% to 50%. A lack of physical activity has been linked to about 10% of cases. High fat diet, high alcohol intake, and obesity-related high cholesterol levels, dietary iodine deficiency may also play a role.

Genetics:

Genetics is the primary cause of 5–10% of all cases. Women whose mother was diagnosed before 50 have an increased risk of 1.7 and those whose mother was diagnosed at age 50 or after has an increased risk of 1.4.

Medical conditions:

Atypical ductal hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ, found in benign breast conditions such as fibrocystic breast changes increases breast cancer risk. Diabetes mellitus also increases the risk of breast cancer. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosusincreases the risk for breast cancer.

Diagnosis

Early signs of possible breast cancer. Breast cancer showing an inverted nipple, lump, and skin dimpling.

Signs and symptoms :

The first noticeable symptom of breast cancer is typically a lump that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue. More than 80% of breast cancer cases are discovered when the woman feels a lump. The earliest breast cancers are detected by a mammogram. Lumps found in lymph nodes located in the armpits can also indicate breast cancer.

Indications of breast cancer other than a lump may include thickening different from the other breast tissue, one breast becoming larger or lower, a nipple changing position or shape or becoming inverted, skin puckering or dimpling, a rash on or around a nipple, discharge from nipple/s, constant pain in part of the breast or armpit, and swelling beneath the armpit or around the collarbone. Pain ("mastodynia") is an unreliable tool in determining the presence or absence of breast cancer, but may be indicative of other breast health issues.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a particular type of breast cancer which can pose a substantial diagnostic challenge. Symptoms may resemble a breast inflammation and may include itching, pain, swelling, nipple inversion, warmth and redness throughout the breast, as well as an orange-peel texture to the skin referred to as peaud'orange. As inflammatory breast cancer does not present as a lump there can sometimes be a delay in diagnosis.

Another reported symptom complex of breast cancer is Paget's disease of the breast. This syndrome presents as skin changes resembling eczema, such as redness, discoloration, or mild flaking of the nipple skin. As Paget's disease of the breast advances, symptoms may include tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain. There may also be discharge from the nipple. Approximately half of women diagnosed with Paget's disease of the breast also have a lump in the breast.

In rare cases, what initially appears as a fibroadenoma (hard, movable non-cancerous lump) could in fact be a phyllodes tumor. Phyllodes tumors are formed within the stroma (connective tissue) of the breast and contain glandular as well as stromal tissue. Phyllodes tumors are classified on the basis of their appearance under the microscope as benign, borderline, or malignant.

Occasionally, breast cancer presents as metastatic disease—that is, cancer that has spread beyond the original organ. The symptoms caused by metastatic breast cancer will depend on the location of metastasis. Common sites of metastasis include bone, liver, lung and brain. Unexplained weight loss can occasionally signal breast cancer, as can symptoms of fevers or chills. Bone or joint pains can sometimes be manifestations of metastatic breast cancer, as can jaundice or neurological symptoms.

These symptoms are called non-specific, meaning they could be manifestations of many other illnesses.

Fewer than 20% of lumps are cancerous, and benign breast diseases such as mastitis and fibroadenoma of the breast are more common causes of breast disorder symptoms.

Mammography :

Mammography is a common screening method, since it is relatively fast and widely available in developed countries.

Ultrasonography :

Medical ultrasonography is a diagnostic aid to mammography. Adding ultrasonography testing for women with dense breast tissue increases the detection of breast cancer.

Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) :

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to detect cancers not visible on mammograms. A negative MRI can rule out the presence of cancer to a high degree of certainty, making it an excellent tool for screening in patients at high genetic risk or radiographically dense breasts, and for pre-treatment staging where the extent of disease is difficult to determine on mammography and ultrasound. MRI can diagnose benign proliferative change, fibroadenomas, and other common benign findings at a glance, often eliminating the need for costly and unnecessary biopsies or surgical procedures. The spatial and temporal resolution of breast MRI has increased markedly in recent years, making it possible to detect or rule out the presence of small in situ cancers, including ductal carcinoma in situ.

Management :

Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery, which may be followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or both.

2-D Echocardiography

An Echocardiogramat Chandan Hospital is a sonogram of the heart. Echocardiography uses standard two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and Doppler ultrasound to create images of the heart. Echocardiography has become routinely used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size quantification), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. An echocardiogram can also give physicians other estimates of heart function, such as a calculation of the cardiac output, ejection fraction, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes).

Echocardiography can help detect cardiomyopathies, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and many others. The use of stress echocardiography may also help determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. The biggest advantage to echocardiography is that it is not invasive (does not involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.

Not only can an echocardiogram create ultrasound images of heart structures, but it can also produce accurate assessment of the blood flowing through the heart by Doppler echocardiography, using pulsed- or continuous-wave Doppler ultrasound. This allows assessment of both normal and abnormal blood flow through the heart. Color Doppler, as well as spectral Doppler, is used to visualize any abnormal communications between the left and right sides of the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves (valvular regurgitation), and estimate how well the valves open (or do not open in the case of valvular stenosis). The Doppler technique can also be used for tissue motion and velocity measurement, by tissue Doppler echocardiography.

How Safe Is Echocardiography?

It is absolutely safe. There are no known risks of the ultrasound in this type of testing.

Medical Uses :

Echocardiography is a significant tool in providing the physician important information about heart on the following :

  • Size of the chambers, volume and the thickness of the walls
  • Pumping function, if it is normal or reduced to a mild/severe degree
  • Valve function – structure, thickness and movement of heart’s valves
  • Volume status as low blood pressure may occur as a result of poor heart function
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid in the pericardium and the sac that surrounds the heart), congenital heart disease, blood clots or tumours, abnormal elevation of pressure within the lungs etc.
Trans-Thoracic Echocardiogram :

A standard echocardiogram is also known as a transthoracic echocardiogram, or cardiac ultrasound. In this case, the echocardiography transducer (or probe) is placed on the chest wall (or thorax) of the subject, and images are taken through the chest wall. This is a noninvasive, highly accurate, and quick assessment of the overall health of the heart.

Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram :

This is an alternative way to perform an echocardiogram. A specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip is passed into the patient's esophagus. This allows image and Doppler evaluation from a location directly behind the heart. This is known as a transesophageal echocardiogram. Transesophageal echocardiograms are most often used when transthoracic images are suboptimal and when a more clear and precise image is needed for assessment.

Stress Echocardiography :

A stress echocardiogram, also known as a stress echo, uses ultrasound imaging of the heart to assess the wall motion in response to physical stress. First, images of the heart are taken "at rest" to acquire a baseline of the patient's wall motion at a resting heart rate. The patient then walks on a treadmill or uses another exercise modality to increase the heart rate to his or her target heart rate, or 85% of the age-predicted maximum heart rate (220 − patient's age). Finally, images of the heart are taken "at stress" to assess wall motion at the peak heart rate. A stress echo assesses wall motion of the heart; it does not, however, create an image of the coronary arteries directly. Ischemia of one or more coronary arteries could cause a wall motion abnormality, which could indicate coronary artery disease. The gold standard test to directly create an image of the coronary arteries and directly assess for stenosis or occlusion is a cardiac catheterization. A stress echo is not invasive and is performed in the presence of a licensed medical professional, such as a cardiologist, and a cardiac sonographer.

Three-Dimensional Echocardiography :

Three-dimensional echocardiogram of a heart viewed from the apex Three-dimensional echocardiography (also known as four-dimensional echocardiography when the picture is moving) is now possible, using a matrix array ultrasound probe and an appropriate processing system. This enables detailed anatomical assessment of cardiac pathology, particularly valvular defects, and cardiomyopathies. The ability to slice the virtual heart in infinite planes in an anatomically appropriate manner and to reconstruct three-dimensional images of anatomic structures make it unique for the understanding of the congenitally malformed heart. Real-time three-dimensional echocardiography can be used to guide the location of bioptomes during right ventricular endomyocardial biopsies, placement of catheter-delivered valvular devices, and in many other intraoperative assessments.

Contrast Echocardiography :

Contrast echocardiography, or contrast-enhanced ultrasound is the addition of an ultrasound contrast medium, or imaging agent, to traditional ultrasonography. The ultrasound contrast is made up of tiny microbubbles filled with a gas core and protein shell. This allows the microbubbles to circulate through the cardiovascular system and return the ultrasound waves, creating a highly reflective image. There are multiple applications in which contrast-enhanced ultrasound can be useful. The most commonly used application is in the enhancement of LV endocardial borders for assessment of global and regional systolic function. Contrast may also be used to enhance visualization of wall thickening during stress echocardiography, for the assessment of LV thrombus, or for the assessment of other masses in the heart. Contrast echocardiography has also been used to assess blood perfusion throughout myocardium in the case of coronary artery disease.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields, electric field gradients, and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. MRI does not involve X-rays and the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT or CAT scans. Magnetic resonance imaging is a medical application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR can also be used for imaging in other NMR applications such as NMR spectroscopy.

While the hazards of X-rays are now well-controlled in most medical contexts, MRI may still be seen as a better choice than CT. MRI is widely used in hospitals and clinics for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and follow-up without exposing the body to radiation. However, MRI may often yield different diagnostic information compared with CT. There may be risks and discomfort associated with MRI scans. Compared with CT scans, MRI scans typically take longer and are louder, and they usually need the subject to enter a narrow, confining tube. In addition, people with some medical implants or other non-removable metal inside the body may be unable to undergo an MRIexamination safely.

Diagnostics :

MRI has a wide range of applications in medical diagnosis and more than 25,000 scanners are estimated to be in use worldwide. MRI affects diagnosis and treatment in many specialties although the effect on improved health outcomes is uncertain.

MRI is the investigation of choice in the preoperative staging of rectal and prostate cancer and, has a role in the diagnosis, staging, and follow-up of other tumors.

Neuroimaging :

MRI is the investigative tool of choice for neurological cancers, as it has better resolution than CT and offers better visualization of the posterior fossa. The contrast provided between grey and white matter makes MRI the best choice for many conditions of the central nervous system, including demyelinating diseases, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, infectious diseases, and epilepsy. Since many images are taken milliseconds apart, it shows how the brain responds to different stimuli, enabling researchers to study both the functional and structural brain abnormalities in psychological disorders. MRI also is used in guided stereotactic surgery and radiosurgery for treatment of intracranial tumors, arteriovenous malformations, and other surgically treatable conditions using a device known as the N-localizer.

Cardiovascular :

Cardiac MRI is complementary to other imaging techniques, such as echocardiography, cardiac CT, and nuclear medicine. Its applications include assessment of myocardial ischemia and viability, cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, iron overload, vascular diseases, and congenital heart disease.

Musculoskeletal :

Applications in the musculoskeletal system include spinal imaging, assessment of joint disease, and soft tissue tumors.

Liver and gastrointestinal :

Hepatobiliary MR is used to detect and characterize lesions of the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts. Focal or diffuse disorders of the liver may be evaluated using diffusion-weighted, opposed-phase imaging, and dynamic contrast enhancement sequences. Extracellular contrast agents are used widely in liver MRI and newer hepatobiliary contrast agents also provide the opportunity to perform functional biliary imaging. Anatomical imaging of the bile ducts is achieved by using a heavily T2-weighted sequence in magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). Functional imaging of the pancreas is performed following administration of secretin. MR enterography provides non-invasive assessment of inflammatory bowel disease and small bowel tumors. MR-colonography may play a role in the detection of large polyps in patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Angiography :

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) generates pictures of the arteries to evaluate them for stenosis (abnormal narrowing) or aneurysms (vessel wall dilatations, at risk of rupture). MRA is often used to evaluate the arteries of the neck and brain, the thoracic and abdominal aorta, the renal arteries, and the legs (called a "run-off"). A variety of techniques can be used to generate the pictures, such as administration of a paramagnetic contrast agent (gadolinium) or using a technique known as "flow-related enhancement" (e.g., 2D and 3D time-of-flight sequences), where most of the signal on an image is due to blood that recently moved into that plane (see also FLASH MRI). Techniques involving phase accumulation (known as phase contrast angiography) can also be used to generate flow velocity maps easily and accurately. Magnetic resonance venography (MRV) is a similar procedure that is used to image veins. In this method, the tissue is now excited inferiorly, while the signal is gathered in the plane immediately superior to the excitation plane—thus imaging the venous blood that recently moved from the excited plane.