CT masters the mindshare
Multidetector CT scanners were the rage at this year’s RSNA. From 64-slice CT to a WIP 256-slice CT scanner, vendors showed their MDCT systems with advanced imaging capabilities. In addition to improving the image quality of today’s scanners, vendors made it apparent that they are offering applications that allow physicians to access these images, information and diagnostic tools from any workstation of their choice. The paradigm is shifting from acquiring a pretty picture to delivering that pretty picture throughout the healthcare enterprise. Web-enabling applications for CT take the power and image quality of MDCT from inside the hospital and deliver it to referring physicians, remote physician office locations and to the emergency department.

Cardiac CT applications in particular caught the limelight, primarily since cardiac CT angiography is earning its stripes as a non-invasive alternative to diagnostic catheter-based angiograms. MDCT captures precise, motion-free images of the heart and coronary arteries to identify soft plaque and measure coronary blockages that can detect signs of disease at its earliest stages and reduce the need for high-risk interventional procedures. Additional clinical applications highlighted on the show floor included CT for body angiography, CT colonography, stroke imaging and lung CT.

GE Healthcare revealed its next generation 64-slice CT scanner, the LightSpeed VCT XT, which maintains high-resolution, diagnostic quality images while reducing a patient’s radiation exposure by up to 70 percent. According to GE, the LightSpeed VCT XT is capable of capturing images of the heart and coronary arteries in as few as five heartbeats. The company also showcased a new SnapShot Pulse application, which is an automated response to a patient’s heart rate and ensures that the radiation is only on for portions of a scan, and introduced an analysis software package, CT Perfusion 4 Neuro.

Philips Medical Systems featured Brilliance Everywhere, a suite of CT-dedicated technologies that address the primary challenge facing multidetector CT users today: how to manage the large datasets generated by large volume acquisitions while speeding physicians’ time to diagnosis. Philips’ Extended BrillianceWorkspace (EBW) release 3.5 now offers users a more efficient work environment to develop volume rendering, MIP and MPR into a real-time, responsive application. Philips also showed a new release of its Brilliance Workspace Portal, which the company said will be available in the second quarter of 2007. The real-time interactive environment makes the Portal ideal for use as a primary image review station or as a method to share results remotely with referring physicians or specialists, such as in the surgical suite or emergency department.

Siemens Somatom DefinitionSiemens Medical Solutions highlighted its Somatom Definition dual-source CT scanner that enables CT acquisition with two x-ray sources and two detectors. The system delivers images without motion artifacts, displaying anatomical details with diagnostic clarity. The system provides clinical research professionals, physicians, hospitals and outpatients clinics with advanced radiographic applications including acute care, cardiology, neurology and oncology. The company announced that it received FDA 510(k) for the first of many syngo Dual Energy applications for the Somatom Definition. In addition, to address the demands of today’s 64-slice CT workflow, Siemens introduced the Somatom Sensation Web that provides instant accessibility of 3D volume data anytime, anywhere. According to Siemens, the application turns any internet-connected PC into a thin-client clinical workstation.

Toshiba America Medical Systems showcased its suite of workflow and storage enhancements for its Aquilion CT systems. In addition to its portfolio of MDCT systems, Toshiba featured its work-in-progress Aquilion CT 256-slice scanner. The 256-slice WIP CT scanner is designed to acquire a large volume of data that can cover the brain or heart in a single rotation. The system’s volume acquisition provides accurate images and lowers dose, resulting in more accurate, quicker diagnoses. Additionally, dynamic multiple phase studies such as perfusion of the brain, heart or other organs are possible.

CT Peripherals
Medrad demonstrated its Stellant D CT Injection System with SmartFlow technology that is designed to improve timing for cardiac CT imaging. SmartFlow automatically suggests injection protocols by factoring in patient-specific parameters, a time-consuming process if done manually.