Computed Tomography

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No matter how you slice it, CT vendors have continued to push the design and image quality of today's scanners, improving their overall clinical performance and increasing anatomical coverage. To no one's surprise, multi-detector CT continued the buzz it started at last year's Radiological Society of North America meeting in Chicago last week -- however even the vendors were surprised the "other guy" didn't bring along a 128-slice scanner. "I think we're all waiting for healthcare facilities to figure out what to do with the image volume of 64-slice," several vendors voiced. Toshiba did look into the future by demonstrating its 256-slice scanner. The works in progress scanner would be able to image the entire heart in one rotation, but there's no word yet on when it will be commercially available. 

All of the CT vendors showcased their 64-slice systems launched at last year's show, and Siemens also showcased its just-launched dual-source CT (a first of its kind) with two tubes and two generators that touts twice the temporal resolution, acquisition speed and scanning power, while minimizing radiation exposure. Sixty-four slice scanners bring the gantry speed and sub-millimeter volume coverage needed to gather a high-resolution image of a heart, brain or a pair of lungs in about five seconds.

Additional highlights in the reign of CT at RSNA 2005 included a large bore CT scanner from Toshiba America Medical Systems with a 90 cm and a 70 cm acquired field-of-view. GE Healthcare introduced a new series of CT scanners called the BrightSpeed series geared for a broader audience of healthcare facilities, including community hospitals and outpatient imaging centers that may have space constraints and require a quicker return on investment. Philips Medical Systems showcased an ambient experience called CT Halo for improved, efficient workflow in the CT environment, including radiology, cardiology and oncology CT. And a new company to the RSNA showroom floor, NeuroLogica, introduced a mobile CT scanner called CereTom that has a 25-cm field of view that can be brought bedside and used in any hospital room or clinic bay.

If you didn't make it all the way around the floor or not on the show floor at all, here are some details of what CT vendors had on display. Vendors are listed in alphabetical order.

E-Z-EM Inc. introduced at RSNA its works in progress EZ CHEM blood analyzer. It was developed in conjunction with Nova Biomedical, and the company has exclusive rights to market the product to radiologists and gastroenterologists in North America, with additional marketing rights worldwide.

EZ CHEM is a point-of-care device for conducting blood assays in patients prior to certain imaging procedures. Such blood values are often required to determine a patient's kidney function before certain IV contrast agents are administered.

The device performs a simple test from a pin-prick same of blood and produces results in as little as 40 seconds after measuring the blood for levels of creatinine, an important indicator of a patient's renal status.

Evaluating a patient's kidney function can help determine their ability to safely receive IV contrast prior to a CT exam. This can be an important precaution especially for known diabetics, patients with known kidney impairment, and patients over 50. EZ CHEM should present considerable time savings, as such blood tests now must be sent to a lab before a CT exam, the company says.

E-Z-EM expects to submit its application to the FDA for regulatory clearance in the 3rd quarter of fiscal year 2006 with commercialization soon after.

GE Healthcare showcased its LightSpeed VCT 64 channel CT scanner, as well as using the show to spring board a new line of CT scanners that are compact in design and appropriate for a wide range of basic radiology applications.

In a single rotation, GE's LightSpeed VCT creates 64 sub-millimeter images, totaling 40 millimeters of anatomical coverage, which are combined to form a three dimensional view of a patient's anatomy. The LightSpeed VCT is able to capture the image of any organ in one second, perform a whole body trauma scan in fewer than 10 seconds, and capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in as few as five heartbeats, GE said.

Since its introduction at last year's RSNA, the scanner has been installed at more than 500 clinical sites, according to the company.

GE also showcased what it tagged adaptive technologies for its VCT scanner. In the