January 13, 2021
ASNC SmartBrief
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African Americans covered by Medicare had 31.6% lower odds of undergoing advanced imaging in the emergency department, compared with their white peers, while African American men had a 15.9% reduced likelihood of advanced imaging than African American women, researchers reported in the American Journal of Roentgenology. The findings also showed that patients in critical care hospitals and rural areas were 18% and 6.9% less likely to receive advanced imaging in the ED, respectively, compared with those in non-critical care facilities and urban areas.
Full Story: Diagnostic Imaging (1/12) 
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Medical Focus
US hits grim milestones in COVID-19 cases, deaths
The US has reached new grim milestones in the COVID-19 pandemic after recording an average of more than 3,000 deaths and 200,000 cases per day over the last seven days, while hospitalizations have topped 100,000 for 40 days in a row. To combat the surge, states are bolstering their COVID-19 vaccination efforts by opening more vaccination hubs, allowing National Guard members to help in vaccine administration and asking for the help of dentists, students and retirees in vaccine delivery.
Full Story: CNN (1/13),  CNN (1/12) 
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Two studies in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found US mortality rates for ischemic heart disease and hypertensive disorders have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, while global cardiac diagnostic testing decreased by 64% from March 2019 to April 2020. Researchers suggested the increase in cardiovascular-related deaths may be due to the pandemic's indirect effects on cardiovascular outcomes and health care system factors.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/Cardiology Today (1/11) 
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Interim guidance on heart failure from the American College of Cardiology acknowledges COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to care, incorporating new drugs into treatment algorithms and giving recommendations on the coordination of care, including integrating palliative care and transitions to hospice care. The interim consensus document acknowledges that COVID-19 will most likely have a lasting effect on care for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (1/11) 
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Women with early invasive breast cancer who underwent one-week high- or low-dose hypofractionated adjuvant whole-breast radiotherapy regimen had similar five-year ipsilateral breast tumor relapse rates and safety outcomes, compared with those who received the standard three-week regimen, according to a study presented at the European Society for Radiology and Oncology 2020 Online Congress and published in The Lancet. "There are obvious benefits to patients and health care systems of shorter radiotherapy treatments, particularly at the current time," researcher Joanne Haviland said.
Full Story: MDedge (1/11) 
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Regulatory & Policy
AI may reduce physician malpractice risk
Researchers found that physician adherence to standard care and artificial intelligence tool recommendations correlated with lower layperson judgment of medical malpractice liability. The findings in a nuclear medicine journal, based on online survey data involving 2,000 US adults, "should serve as a useful beachhead for further work to inform the potential for integrating AI into medical practice," according to an accompanying editorial.
Full Story: AuntMinnie (free registration) (1/12) 
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ASNC's Cardiac PET Resource Center supports case-based learning
Looking to improve your cardiac PET interpretation skills? Check out "Clinical Applications of PET Imaging" - a variety of cases covering contemporary, everyday cardiovascular PET imaging and demonstrating how the results can make a difference in patient care. ASNC's Cardiac PET Resource Center is featuring "Discordance in Coronary Calcium Score and PET MPI," and "57-year-old Patient with a Heart Transplant and Atypical Chest Pain: Value of Myocardial Blood Flow." ASNC members also have unlimited access to the PET Cases Archive. VISIT ASNC's CARDIAC PET RESOURCE CENTER.
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