The Apple iPad is capable of allowing physicians to review Magnetic Resonance images of spinal emergencies, according to a study in the August issue of the journal Academic Radiology.
The Apple iPad was up to the task of reviewing
Magnetic Resonance images of emergency spinal injury cases, a study published
in the journal Academic Radiology revealed.
MRIs are used in radiology to examine the ligaments
and pathology of the spinal cord.
In the journal's August issue, Jonathan P. McNulty, head of teaching and
learning for diagnostic imaging programs at University College
Dublin, along with colleagues found that the iPad was equal to a secondary-class
LCD in diagnostic accuracy. A secondary-class monitor is used for evaluations
other than a primary diagnosis, according to the American Association of
Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).
The other authors of the report
were Dr. John Ryan, a lecturer in diagnostic
imaging at University College Dublin, Dr, Louise Rainford, head of diagnostic
imaging in biological imaging research at University College Dublin and Dr.
Michael Evanoff of the American Board of Radiology.
For the study, 13-board certified radiologists
examined 31 MR images on a ViewSonic VP201m LCD (with an nVidia GeForce 7100
graphics card) and the iPad. On both screens, they found evidence of compression,
hemorrhaging or edema (accumulation of fluid in connective tissue) of the
spinal cord in 13 instances. Meanwhile, 18 control images came up negative for
Sensitivity and specificity of the images on the
iPad were greater than or equal to that of the ViewSonic VP201m display,
according to the study. The differences were not statistically significant,
The iPad had about double the maximum luminance of
the ViewSonic unit. The larger display size and superior contrast ratio of the
iPad over other mobile devices makes it suitable for additional study,
according to the report.
Researchers ran Ziltron iPad software on both the
ViewSonic monitor and Apple tablet to compare the diagnostic capabilities of
the devices. Ziltron iPad uses a receiver operating characteristic (ROC)
methodology, which involves evaluating the degree of sensitivity and
specificity of a screening tool in finding a disorder. Ziltron also exports
data to Excel for additional analysis.
"The 3G and WiFi capabilities and the wide
range of DICOM viewing software available for the iPad mean that it has great
potential in terms of accessing radiological images remote from the radiology
department or indeed remote to the institution particularly in situations
requiring an urgent review," McNulty told eWEEK in an email.
"The iPad performed with equal diagnostic
accuracy when compared with the secondary-class LCD device after
[Dorfman-Berbaum-Metz] multireader-multicase analysis, demonstrating the iPad
as an option to aid initial review of MR spinal emergency cases," the
Dorfman-Berbaum-Metz (DBM) is a method of
statistical analysis of multiple readers, or displays.
"As evidenced by these findings, the iPad may
represent a possible solution to the evaluation of MR images and diagnostic
decision-making in spinal emergency cases when reviewed by experienced
radiologists without access to secondary-class displays," the authors
wrote. "It also reinforces the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration
decision to give clearance for the use of the iPad for diagnostic
decision-making while using an appropriate software application.
The FDA has already cleared apps such as MIM
Software's Mobile MIM for viewing radiology images on the iPhone and iPad. The
application allows doctors to make diagnoses on a mobile device such as the
iPhone or iPad without having to travel to a workstation.
The iPad 2 has proven to be equal to other LCD
monitors for diagnosing tuberculosis, according to a recent study by the
University of Maryland.
In the UMD study, results of a chest X-ray were
equal200 positive and 40 negativewhen five radiologists tested images on iPad
2 tablets and on a 27-inch Mac monitor, according to FierceMobileHealthcare.
The iPad shows great potential as far as viewing
images and accessing content, but for clinical
medical applications, software companies will need to incorporate features
such as gesture-based computing, natural language speech recognition, unified
communications and video conferencing for use on the iPad, according to a Jan.
31 Spyglass Consulting Group report.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.