Siemens, Toshiba show off 64-slice CT scanners
Siemens Medical Solutions and Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS) upped the CT "slice war" last week, demonstrating their 64-slice CT systems at Stanford University's 6th Annual International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT, June 23 - 26, in San Francisco.

Siemens' Somatom Sensation Cardiac 64, a 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner designed for cardiac, thoracic and vascular imaging. It is equipped with a standard gantry rotation speed of 0.33 seconds and achieves a temporal resolution up to 83 milliseconds. Siemens says the new gantry rotation speed will also become available as an option for cardiac and advanced body CT applications on the Somatom Sensation 64, which was first introduced at the 2003 Radiological Society of North America trade show, which comes with a standard 0.37 seconds rotation time.

The Somatom Sensation 64-slice scanner features Siemens' z-Sharp technology for enhanced image quality in advanced body and cardiovascular imaging applications with a spatial resolution of 0.4-mm. Siemens says z-Sharp technology combines rapid movement of the x-ray source in the Straton tube with the 64-channel UltraFastCeramic (UFC) detector design.

In addition, Siemens says the system's temporal and isotropic spatial resolution may now allow for virtually motion-free evaluation of peripheral segments of the coronary arteries, including plaque evaluation and improved follow-up assessment of stent patency.

Siemens plans on commercially launching the scanner in the fall following testing at leading clinical institutions in the Unites States, Europe and Asia.

Toshiba demonstrated its Aquilion 64-slice CT, which is built on the same platform as Toshiba's Aquilion 32. The system utilizes a 64-row Quantum detector, volume imaging capabilities and advanced software applications. Toshiba says the Quantum detector enables the Aquilion CT scanner to acquire 64 simultaneous slices of 0.5-mm with each 400-millisecond gantry revolution for a total Z-axis coverage of 48 mm per rotation.

For larger studies, particularly in cardiovascular CT imaging, Toshiba says it developed a family of sureWorkflow applications that include: SUREStart, for real-time contrast monitoring; sureExposure, dose control technology; SURECardio, automated cardiac scan; and SURESubtraction, to remove interfering calcium with rapid angiographic views.

Some providers have already been scanning with the Aquilion Quantum 64 technology, including Fujita Health University in Japan and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Toshiba says the Aquilion 64-slice system will be available for delivery in 2005. In addition, the Aquilion 32 can be upgraded to a 64-slice system.