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Faster scan times, faster image processing and more automated scan options on new and upgraded MRI scanners were on display around the exhibit floor at RSNA 2003. The focus continues on 1.5T scanners, while greater functionality is migrating up to 3.0T units and down to open systems as well.

Siemens Medical Solutions at RSNA announced the first installation of the MAGNETOM Avanto 1.5 Tesla MR system, which is the first product to incorporate Siemens Total imaging matrix (Tim) technology, at New York University (NYU) Medical Center. Tim uses a whole body surface coil concept to combine up to 76 coil elements and 32 RF channels [76x32]. Tim allows the user to select exams, not coils, and provides the highest acquisition speed without image artifacts or restrictions in coverage, giving radiologists the opportunity to conduct advanced applications, such as metastasis evaluation.  The Tim Application Suite includes a comprehensive set of clinical applications, including Neuro, Angio, Cardiac, Body, Oncology, Orthopedic, and Pediatric.  Siemens MAGNETOM Symphony, Sonata and Trio systems are upgradeable to include Tim technology. Image quality is increased by up to 100 percent signal-to-noise ratio, according to Siemens. The Avanto's Tim technology means that patient repositioning and manual coil changes are virtually eliminated during exams, enabling full body imaging in a single exam.

The MAGNETOM Avanto offers high-resolution full-body images for metastasis evaluation, whole CNS imaging and visualization of vascular diseases in a shorter acquisition time. It also features Siemens iPAT (integrated Parallel Acquisition Technique) that provides fast image acquisition with parallel imaging in all dimensions, including head to toe, front to back, and side to side. Phoenix software allows clinicians to transfer protocol for medical images from a CD, making it possible to initiate a scan directly from the image.  Additionally, the system allows more audio comfort due to 97 percent noise reduction.

At RSNA, Philips Medical Systems launched its new Intera Achieva family of high-cylindrical MR systems. The series includes FreeWave scalable, 32-channel architecture and is built around SENSE technology, for increases in imaging speed up to a factor of eight and increase image quality, Philips says. The new Vequion-compliant user interface features ExamCards, entire clinical studies selectable at a single touch.

The new members of the family include the Intera Achieva 1.5T, Intera Achieva 3.0T, the Intera Achieva Mobile MR, the Intera Achieva CV for cardiac exams and Intera Achieva I/T for interventional MR work.

The Intera Achieva 1.5T offers applications in neurological, musculoskeletal and abdominal imaging as well as cardiac and functional studies, contrast-enhanced angiography and spectroscopic imaging thanks to powerful gradients up to 66 mT/m and 160 SR.

The Intera Achieva 3.0T is the most compact whole-body MR system available, sharing the same footprint as the 1.5T unit. A 400mm field-of-view enables high-quality, full coverage body imaging. New Quasar Dual gradients, developed for 3.0T imaging, enable ultra-short TEs and sub-millisecond TRs. RF-SMART (Radio Frequency Superior Management ArchiTecture) manages Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).

The Intera Achieva Mobile MR features the same functionality and patient-friendliness of the Achieva 1.5T, yet travels at-field for park, plug and scan operations. The unit can be used for scanning as soon as it pulls into a site, while its compact lightweight design allows easy travel in standard traffic.

For cardiac work, the Achieva CV allows clinicians to perform a single-session cardiac check-up - providing information on morphology, function, flow, rest and stress studies, coronary artery imaging and peripheral vasculature. The new PhysioTrak patient handling and monitoring system enables fast patient set up, continuous patient monitoring and fast evacuation if needed. MotionTrak Plus provides motion correction, while Vector Cardiogram (VCG) enables near 100-percent triggering and gating accuracy, even for patients with severely disturbed ECG patterns.

Philips' new interventional MR family, the Achieva I/T, has three configurations: the Achieva I/T is optimized for minimally invasive interventions; the Intera Achieva I/T Neurosurgery supports neurosurgery applications including MR-supported brain biopsies, tumor resections and functional neurosurgery; and the Achieva I/T