CT: Return of the Slice Wars?

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Image courtesy of Philips  
Philips Brilliance  

CT is arguably the workhorse of high-end diagnostic imaging. A plethora of slice configurations and software application packages are available that ensure the ongoing clinical utility of this modality now and for years to come.

At RSNA, developers are focusing their attention on refinements to CT technology including: dose-reduction techniques; image-reconstruction algorithms; enhanced electronics for cardiac applications; and workflow solutions that distribute the functionality of a dedicated CT workstation across the enterprise. Expect a preview of next-generation systems, more slices, better resolution, shorter scan times—although word prior to showtime is mum. 

Here is a sample of some of the latest CT products and devices being showcased in the RSNA exhibit halls of Chicago’s McCormick Place in November.

AFP Imaging (Booth 6562) is highlighting two new versions of its cone-beam CT systems geared for in-office use. The NewTomVG (Vertical Generation) provides hard and soft tissue imaging, while delivering the lowest radiation emissions in the industry, the company said. The system, geared for 3D dental imaging, offers flexible seating options to allow patients to stand, sit or remain in a wheelchair for scanning. Safe Beam Technology ensures the lowest possible dose of radiation, automatically sensing the size of the patient and adjusting the dosage accordingly. Additionally, the vertical unit takes up 60 percent less space than a comparable horizontal system, according to AFP.

AFP’s NewTom 3G Cone Beam CT system produces 3D x-ray studies of the jaw, mandibular canal and sinuses. The variable field-of-view system is geared for use in ENT applications, orthodontics, endodontics, implantology, TMJ and oral surgery. It can be sited in a room as small as 3-by-5 feet.

Apollo Medical Imaging Technology (Booth 6228) is exhibiting one-click CT Perfusion workflow. It offers automated processing of dynamic CT images collected from MDCT scanners with the click of a mouse button, coupled with automatic motion correction, detection of baseline and input functions. It provides various quantitative maps to aid in the assessment of the extent and type of blood flow, blood volume, transit time and permeability changes related but not limited to stroke or tumor angiogenesis and be helpful in therapy monitoring.

GE Healthcare (Booth 1729) is demonstrating the capabilities of its LightSpeed VCT XT, a CT system the company says can maintain image quality while reducing a patient’s radiation exposure by up to 70 percent in diagnostic cardiac scans.

Building on the foundation of GE’s CT platforms, the LightSpeed VCT XT is capable of capturing images of the heart and coronary arteries in as few as five heartbeats. Using SnapShot Pulse, the LightSpeed VCT XT reduces a patient’s x-ray exposure time using a process called prospective-triggered gating. In standard cardiac CT exams, x-ray energy is delivered for the duration of the scan, even during periods when a patient’s heart is at an undesirable phase for diagnostic imaging. SnapShot Pulse introduces a timed, automated response to a patient’s heart rate, ensuring the x-ray is only on for portions of the scan, according to GE. Its functionality is further improved by the company’s step-and-shoot scanning feature, which allows the gantry to move from one location to the next to cover the entire volume of the patient’s heart.

LightSpeed VCT XT also features VolumeShuttle, which addresses the need for wide coverage for both dynamic angiography and perfusion in a single scan to enable whole organ anatomical and physiological assessment. VolumeShuttle doubles the coverage width of the anatomy without increasing dose, using a single contrast injection, GE says.

Medrad (Booth 8513) is introducing its Pressure-Rated Extension Set (PRES) for CT power injectors. An extension set, which is commonly used in conjunction with IV access, is a disposable tube set that attaches the patient catheter and the power injector tubing. According to the company, the FDA recommends using only venous access devices that are compatible with the high pressures achieved when power injecting.

Medrad says its PRES reduces the risk of disposable extension set rupture during powered injection of contrast agent or saline when using the company’s CT injection systems, including its Stellant CT injection system.

The developer also is introducing a set of custom adhesive