We first mentioned the new DaTscan nuclear medicine scan in an article last month. Sean Price, Manager of Non Invasive & Nuclear Cardiology at Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) in Winfield, Illinois, mentioned that in addition to the video produced by WGN Chicago, the Chicago Tribune ran an article in November explaining the benefits of the scan for determining the presence of Parkinson’s disease. CDH has offered the procedure since June, the same month that GE made DaTscan available to U.S. hospitals. From June to November 2011, 25 patients have been tested for Parkinson’s disease using DaTscan at CDH.
Chicagoland patients have several medical centers to choose from that offer this recently-approved nuclear medicine imaging procedure, including CDH and St. Alexius Medical Center in the western suburbs.
Midbrain slice of a SPECT DaTSCAN image showing normal striatal morphology
Darius Rubas, CNMT, lead nuclear medicine technologist at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, IL, introduced us to DaTscan, the GE trademark name for Ioflupane Iodine-123 injection. DaTscan is the first FDA-approved radiopharmaceutical adjunct imaging agent to help physicians evaluate patients with suspected parkinsonian syndromes (PS), such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). St. Alexius Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the Chicagoland area to offer DaTscan in a routine nuclear medicine imaging procedure.
DaTscan is a radiopharmaceutical imaging agent that works by binding to dopamine transporters (DaT) in the brain, and gives physicians adjunctive diagnostic capability that may help lead to timely and appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
PS occurs when the brain does not get enough dopamine to perform certain functions. This affects the ability of the brain to control movement and other muscle functions. According to GE Healthcare, DaTscan is an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations that help differentiate essential tremor (ET) – a common movement disorder – from tremors due to PS. The effectiveness of DaTscan as a screening or confirmatory test for monitoring disease progression or response to therapy hasn’t been established, however. WGN Chicago recently aired a three minute video describing the new DaTscan benefits.