Power injectors for contrast medium administration: new data on efficiency and cost-effectiveness

Analysis by MDCT.net Editorial Team

 


Introduction

State-of-the-art protocols for contrast-enhanced CT, designed for today’s fast multidetector scanners, require that the administration of contrast medium be precisely controlled. Automated injection systems, called power injectors, allow operators to program the timing, flow rate and volume of contrast medium and saline to be administered, resulting in a sharply delimited (tight) bolus.
Power injectors are important tools in the standardization of CT examinations, but they add another level of complexity to the radiological workflow. For many models commonly in use, such as EmpowerCTA (Bracco Injeneering), Medrad Stellant (Bayer) and Optivantage (Mallinckrodt), each examination requires that two syringes, one containing contrast medium and another saline, be loaded onto the injector. The availability of prefilled syringes simplifies the preparation and saves time [1], but any unused contrast medium is discarded.
Other models, such as CT Exprès (Bracco Injeneering) and Mississippi (Ulrich), have an alternative design in which the desired volumes of contrast medium and saline are withdrawn from larger supply bottles by a peristaltic roller pump. With these syringeless systems, several consecutive examinations can be done before reloading the injector, and the waste of contrast medium is minimized [2].
To further understand the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of power injectors in clinical practice, researchers in Italy did a health economics comparison of a dual-syringe injector and a syringeless, roller pump system [3].

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