News | Press Releases

February 25, 2010


Proprietary Contrast-Free Techniques Eliminate the Use of Potentially Dangerous Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents

TUSTIN, Calif., Feb. 25, 2010 – In response to concern over gadolinium-based contrast agents, Little Company of Mary, a not-for-profit Catholic community hospital in Evergreen Park, Ill., wanted to provide the highest quality and safest MRA procedures to its patients. To accomplish this, the facility installed Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.’s Vantage Atlas® MR system and utilized the full suite of proprietary contrast-free MRA techniques. These contrast-free techniques proved so beneficial that Little Company of Mary now completes 98 percent of its MRA exams without contrast.

“Eliminating the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents, particularly for patients with renal impairment, is greatly improving patient safety for those undergoing MRA exams at Little Company of Mary,” said Kate Erickson, supervisor of CT and MRI, Little Company of Mary. “The image quality produced using the contrast-free techniques is equal to or better than typical contrast-enhanced MRA exams.”

Erickson also added that Toshiba’s techniques are improving hospital efficiency. For example, by not using contrast the team has reduced the need for rescans that sometimes occurs when a bolus is missed, and they also do not need to run pre-exam lab tests on patients to evaluate renal function.

Gadolinium-based contrast agents, the most common contrast agents used for MRA, have been directly linked to nephrogenic systemic fibrosis or nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NSF/NFD) a sometimes fatal skin disease that occurs in patients with renal insufficiency. To combat this issue, Toshiba developed the industry’s only full suite of advanced contrast-free MRA techniques that are available on the entire Vantage MR product line. These techniques include Fresh Blood Imaging (FBI), Contrast-free Improved Angiography (CIA), Time-Spatial Labeling Inversion Pulse (Time-SLIP) and Time and Space Angiography (TSA).

“Little Company of Mary’s utilization of Toshiba’s contrast-free MRA techniques demonstrates their real-world effectiveness in delivering high image quality while eliminating the risks of gadolinium-based contrast agents,” said Doug Ryan, vice president, Marketing and Strategic Development, Toshiba. “As the risks of gadolinium-based contrast agents are not fully known, it is important that the imaging community continue to offer these advanced techniques.”

For more information about Toshiba’s contrast-free techniques and contrast-free clinical images visit

About Little Company of Mary

Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (, is a Catholic, not-for-profit hospital based in Evergreen Park. For 80 years, Little Company of Mary has delivered compassionate care to Chicago’s Southwest area. While there’s always going to be a certain level of pain with any surgery or treatment, Little Company of Mary is committed to finding new ways of reducing it. From minimally invasive techniques that fight cancer with a quicker recovery to a caring approach with better patient communication and convenient access, our team of experts is constantly making the experience of health care hassle-free. And every day, whether it’s new ways of making you more comfortable or bringing the latest technology right to your neighborhood, we’re always moving forward in pursuit of pain-free health care.

About Toshiba

With headquarters in Tustin, Calif., Toshiba America Medical Systems markets, sells, distributes and services diagnostic imaging systems, and coordinates clinical diagnostic imaging research for all modalities in the United States. Toshiba Medical Systems Corp., an independent group company of Toshiba Corp., is a global leading provider of diagnostic medical imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions, such as CT, Cath & EP Labs, X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI and information systems. Toshiba Corp. is a worldwide leader in technology, electronic and electrical products, digital consumer products, electronic devices and components, power systems, industrial and social infrastructure systems and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875 and today operates a global network of more than 740 companies with 199,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing $73 billion. For more information, visit Toshiba’s web site at