VALCHICA (EFE). The spinal unit of the Hospital Political and University Faith from Valencia invented an "innovative method" for monitoring deformity in children and diagnosing adolescent idiopathic scoliosis without using X-rays.
The system uses conventional ultrasound and "smartphone" with an application, and using cross processes as a reference, you can know the size of the deformity "at minimal cost and without special devices," software "or ionizing radiation" informed Generalitat in a statement.
According to experts, adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is a deformity of the "backbone" that progresses over time and, when it reaches a certain size, requires surgical treatment.
If you do not intervene, changes in development, cardiac function, lung function, etc. may occur, so "it is necessary to perform radiographs every six months."
When dealing with children, it has been shown that this frequency using radiography increases the risk of breast cancer in adulthood, among other health problems.
Currently, the diagnosis and monitoring are done with an X-ray of 30×90, and there are other complex devices using ultrasound, "but their high price makes them inadequate in real practice."
The system developed in La Fe is "the first one to monitor deformity using only conventional ultrasound and telephone, making the entire ionizational irradiation monitoring available to specialists."
The method is used experimentally and for this it is necessary to increase the number of centers to confirm its use safely, "but in the studies carried out so far, the technique is reproducible and very effective," according to sources.
It has been specifically designed for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and has been shown to be effective in cases of patients between 8 and 20 years diagnosed with this type of scoliosis and who do not meet surgical criteria, a circumstance that is repeated in most of these cases.
More than 500,000 patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis
In Comunitat Valenciana there are more than 500,000 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients who are between 9 and 20 years old, putting the prevalence of the disease at about 5%.
With these data, researchers estimate that more than 2,000 pediatric patients may benefit from monitoring each year using this technique.
The method developed by the doctor Joan Ferras received the first prize at An essential science book for the Whitecloud Prize.
It deals with awards awarded in the basic research section of Society for Research Scoliosis in the field of research on diagnostics, molecular techniques and new technologies.
This is the first time the Spanish group has won this award since Society for Research Scoliosis, one of the most prestigious societies in the world in spinal pathology, during an international congress IMAST held in Los Angeles, in which La Fe's proposal compete with hospitals in more than 15 countries.