CT stacks up beyond expectation
The multislice CT "slice wars" are heating up again at RSNA this year. Look for a variety of improvements in 64-slice, as well as 16-slice for oncology, interventional procedures and bariatric patients - and maybe even previews of higher slice counts. System features include enhancements to workflow, new clinical applications and advanced imaging capabilities to help assess and measure abnormalities.

GE Healthcare (Booth #7730) is introducing a new 16-slice Wide Bore CT system with applications in radiation oncology, and with bariatric patients and interventional procedures. The system is the only one on the market that can scan a 650-pound patient, the company says. It also offers a powerful x-ray tube, and provides clinicians with the accuracy of table movement for the largest patients.

GE also is debuting the next-generation Smart View advanced application for multislice CT systems. This CT Fluoro technology provides clinicians real-time acquisitions of 12 frames per second. The company touts Smart View as having the shortest latency time on the market, and as a result, it allows better control of needle placement during interventional procedures.

For healthcare facilities still making use of single-slice CT technology, the company is introducing a new family of products. This new series of scanners brings the advances of the LightSpeed VCT to a broader audience, such as community hospitals and outpatient imaging centers. More details are being unveiled at RSNA.

GE also is focusing on lung cancer detection (lung cancer being the No. 1 cancer killer of Americans) via Lung VCAR that offers the ability to systematically visualize, isolate and quantitatively analyze lung nodules over time. Lung VCAR offers an objective analysis for superior patient management, compared with traditional manual measurements.

Philips Medical Systems (Booth #1129) is demonstrating at RSNA several new workflow enhancements for the Brilliance CT family and the Brilliance Workspace. The new design elements improve the experience for both the user and the patient - before, during and after the exam. In addition, Ambient Experience for CT is no longer just a concept (which was rolled out last year), but now a series of products and custom solutions installed in several locations globally.

Philips is talking up "dramatic new examples" of the clinical effectiveness of its Brilliance family of multislice scanners. New clinical applications are being highlighted for radiology, cardiology and oncology.

The company also is promoting its CT NetForum virtual online community where users can share their knowledge about a variety of topics surrounding Philips CT products and clinical applications. It provides clinically relevant information for users by users, such as downloadable ExamCards, protocols, advanced product training, clinical case studies, application tips, white papers and publications.

IMCO Technologies (Booth #6728) is featuring MS-CT Store, a dedicated storage solution for multislice CT suited for facilities that haven't yet purchased a PACS. Yet, MS-CT Store is fully configurable should a PACS be introduced in the future. When a facility purchases a PACS, the images archived on MS-CT Store can easily be migrated to the PACS, if desired. It can be configured with a number of image viewing capabilities.

Siemens Medical Solutions (Booth #4337) is keeping its cards close to its chest, but on the RSNA show floor look for the debut "a completely new technology solution" that "will redefine CT and take clinical possibilities to an entirely new level."

The company also is displaying its SOMATOM Sensation 64 with speedy 0.33-second scanning. It is now 350 installations strong.

TeraRecon (Booth #3700) is debuting a works in progress dental 3D-CT scanning system. The flat panel detector-based, high-resolution dental 3D-CT scanning system is being introduced for dental surgeons, dental clinics, and hospitals. Applications include surgical implants, orthodontic and periodontic procedures.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Booth #7114) is showcasing its Aquilion 64 CFX and Aquilion 64 64-slice scanners and the Aquilion LB (Large Bore) system.

The Aquilion 64 CFX provides fast temporal resolution to cover the entire heart in one breath-hold, high spatial resolution to visualize small coronaries and interior of stents, low contrast resolution to detect soft plaque, and SUREWorkflow automatic scan parameters to simplify cardiac exams. It also offers: true 0.35mm isotropic imaging; automated workflow with Multiview; 1.8m scan range couch; a 64-row Quantum detector; 32mm total detector coverage per rotation; 64 x 0.5 acquisition; 400 millisecond rotation speed standard; prospective and retrospective gating; cardiac functional analysis; SUREScan 12 ima/sec real-time display; SUREStart bolus tracking; SUREFluoro CT fluoroscopy; and SUREPlaque non-calcified lesion identification. Applications for the 64-slice scanner include: cardiac scoring, cardiac angiography, advanced cardiac analysis, trauma, CT fluoro, CT angiography and runoffs, pediatrics, Hi Res lung scanning and CFX Cardio physician training in which participants team with global cardiology faculty to gain essential tools needed for confident diagnosis and scanning with CFX.

The Aquilion 64 features the industry's best isotropic resolution and low-contrast resolution for volumetric studies to provide more accurate diagnostic capabilities and better delivery of noninvasive patient care, according to Toshiba. It shares capabilities with the Aquilion 64 CFX such as true 0.35 mm isotropic imaging; automated workflow with Multiview; 1.8m scan range couch; 32mm total detector coverage per rotation; 64 x 0.5 acquisition and 400 millisecond rotation speed option. Among its applications are cardiac scoring, cardiac angiography, cardiac functional analysis, trauma, CT fluoro, CT angiography and runoffs, pediatrics, lung scanning and CAD, perfusion and bone mineral analysis.

Toshiba also is featuring its Aquilion LB, a premium large bore multislice CT system that the company says has the largest gantry aperture (90 cm) and the largest true scanning field of 70 cm that provides exam flexibility for CT simulation for oncology, trauma, bariatric and interventional procedures.