MRI gains power, speed and applications

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At RSNA, MRI vendors continued to ring out more ways to make 1.5 Tesla MRI more powerful while making room for 3T systems. Technological advancements included tilting and upright systems and better coils that are propelling system evolution forward. Also, several companies unveiled the latest in cardiac, breast MR, and motion correction.

Esoate SpA showcased its G-Scan "Tilting MRI" which is still awaiting FDA approval for use in the U.S. It offers a tilting design for use in all musculoskeletal applications.

Fonar Corp. highlighted its research and development in new applications of Upright MR imaging, with its True Flow imaging for cardiovascular use.

GE Healthcare demonstrated Signa HDe 1.5T, an entry-level system with a smaller footprint, shorter install time, one electronic cabinet, and a quieter design. The HDx 1.5T is a faster premium MR unit with the new XVRE recon engine, advancements in parallel imaging algorithms, and a new head-neck-spine coil system. 3T versions of each of the HD series systems are available.

Hitachi Medical Systems America introduced the Echelon 1.5 Tesla MR, a full-feature, compact MR unit with scalable 8-channel RF, 30/150 gradient and full parallel imaging capability. Other standard features include higher-order active shim, RAPID parallel imaging, multiple coil ports, and an advanced reconstruction engine.

ONI Medical Systems Inc. (ONI) showcased the latest upgrade of its compact high-field OrthOne XT - II, a 1.0T extremity MRI system. New features include a more powerful operating system that offers increased scan speed as well as a 160-mm knee coil.

Philips Medical Systems highlighted SmartExam, a tool for MR which enables simple planning, scanning and processing. Philips also displayed its k-t BLAST for cardiac MRI which is five times faster than traditional cardiac MRI. Also highlighted was 4D-TRAK MR Angiography that performs 60 times faster than traditional MRA, Philips says. The company also showed its MR Workspace for review and analysis across multiple workspaces.

Siemens Medical Solutions featured the Magnetom Trio 3T system. The whole-body MRI with Tim (Total imaging matrix) targets clinical applications such as abdominal, cardiac, spine, whole-body and orthopedics. Also, Magnetom Espree, an Open Bore 1.5T system, offers additional room for difficult to scan patients.

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. (TAMS) introduced a new works-in-progress Vantage ZGV MRI, a scalable high-end system with new product sequences, improved image quality, a Mach 8 processor, and a CPU capable of 1,230 images per second reconstruction. Toshiba showcased Body Vision for cancer detection and Radiance Breast Package an alternative to standard mammography. The company also launched two new coils.



MRI Peripherals

Avotec Inc. displayed its SV-5300 Viewing Projector an MRI audio/video system which provides "Movies at the MRI" for patient comfort during an MRI scan.

Bracco showcased its MultiHance contrast agent which is designed to improve the quality of MR scans in existing and upcoming applications from 0.2 to 3 Telsa (T).

Everbrite Lighting Technologies (ELT) showed the benefits of its MedLux XLS LED Down-Light lighting technology for use in MR suites.

InSightec showed its ExAblate 2000 technology which combines GE Healthcare MRI technology with high intensity focused ultrasound to non-invasively thermally destroy tumors in the body during an outpatient procedure.

Midwest RF showcased its Radiation Oncology MRI Head Array Coil (ROH), an 8-element array coil designed for patients with thermoplastic immobilization masks.

MR Instruments Inc. (MRII) showed its 3T coils under the name Cheetah Coils, which include a 15-element head coil.

MEDRAD highlighted its 3T and 1.5 T Endorectal Prostate Coil as well as its Continuum MR-compatible infusion devices.

Resonance Technology Company Inc. introduced to CinemaVision a range of features to improve communication between patient and technologist. The new FuncLAB is a mini-PACS-like fMRI (functional MRI) software add-on.

Suros Surgical Systems Inc. showcased its ATEC system which includes the Sapphire console unit, an all-in-one unit.