APRIL 2014 • Vol. 3, Issue 2

Western Canada Hosts Successful Educational Meeting

Tammy Goudreau, B.SC., R.T. (MR)RTR, Co-Chair


Martin Sherriff, B.App.SC, R.T.(MR), Co-Chair

“The success of this first Western Canada SMRT Regional has brought upon many requests for a sequel”

The audience is listening carefully to the speaker at the Western Canada Regional Meeting.

The first Western Canada MRI Symposium (Regional) was held on Saturday, March 1st in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The weather was, in stereotypical Canadian fashion, "darn cold." The highest temperature of the day reached a balmy -26 degrees C (-15 degrees F). Some of the attendees who traveled from Edmonton (3 hours north of Calgary), claimed their car thermostats dipped to an unbelievable -40 degrees C. Regardless of the weather, the attendees arrived with their true Canadian spirit. We had an outstanding turnout of 66 attendees out of the 68 registrants.

The day started with an excellent presentation on MR Spectroscopy. Dr Frank MacMaster described in detail, the renowned "squiggly white line." He discussed the impact of this unusual information on clinical diagnosis, research, and the lesser known applications of spectroscopy (i.e.: multi-nuclear and GABA spectroscopy).

The Spectroscopy talk was followed by Dr. Catherine Lebel, who presented on Diffusion Weighted imaging. She discussed the importance of DWI, and in particular, its sensitivity to pathology within the brain. To conclude her presentation, Dr. Lebel described her current research on DWI imaging, and the impact it may have on future clinical implications.

To complete the morning's Neurological session, Dr. Yahya Albrashdi spoke on Epilepsy imaging. He explained which sequences/imaging planes are necessary for proper diagnosis, and the importance of high quality imaging when demonstrating common and not so common pathologies.

After a short break, we changed our focus to body imaging. Dr. Sebastian Chlebek shared his expertise on Diffuse Liver imaging with particular attention to "In and Out of phase." He described the purpose of this specific sequence and how in conjunction with the other pulse sequences, it is used to determine pathology on 1.5T and 3.0T systems.

The next presentation was about MR Safety Update (part one) from Vera Kimbrell, the Past President of the SMRT. Vera very kindly, traveled through the highest degree of winter, transcontinental, to speak at this event. Her lecture was a very informative session on the recent developments in MR Safety, with emphases on the upcoming use of FPO:B mode.

Prior to lunch, Dr. Jeffrey Lee gave an in depth illustration on Pelvic imaging. His primary focus was on female pelvic pathologies, and the use of specific sequences in conjunction with non-orthogonal imaging planes to assist in diagnosis.

After a well-deserved lunch break, Dr. John Fagnou (pronounced "fan-you") spoke on the various Spine imaging protocols and their conjunction with specific indications.

Next, Dr. James White discussed 3T Cardiac MRI, particularly the advantages and pitfalls compared to 1.5T imaging and potential applications. Dr. White clearly demonstrated the future of Cardiac MR imaging, and in his opinion, how it is optimized on a 3T system.

After a short break, Dr. Richard Walker addressed the benefits of both routine MSK imaging and arthrography, when demonstrating various joint pathologies. He explained the use of radial imaging in the hip for the detection of minute labral tears, along with the advantages of 3D sequences in MSK.

After a long day of learning, the charismatic Dr. Stephen Valentine managed to keep his audience engaged with his interactive presentation on MR Breast Imaging. The winner of an impromptu quiz, took home a very nice bottle of Cabernet, courtesy of Dr. Valentine.

Last, but definitely not least, Vera finished off with "part two" of her MRI Safety presentation. She brought awareness to the increase in MR conditionally safe pacemakers, and what technologists can do to safely scan patients with various implanted devices.

Although the day was very long, many attendees expressed their gratitude for the quality of the speakers and the content of their presentations. The success of this first Western Canada SMRT Regional has brought upon many requests for a sequel. We can only hope, that in the future, Mother Nature will be more cooperative and bring us some sunshine and warmer temperatures.