The first U.S. patients were scanned on the Siemens Medical Solutions Somatom Sensation 64-slice CT scanner last week at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Siemens said the system "sets a new benchmark in imaging quality" with its ability to acquire images of the smallest intracranial, pulmonary, mesenteric and peripheral vessels in less than 10 seconds.
The system was recently installed in the Mayo Clinic's new CT Clinical Innovation Center. Research at the center is focusing on quantification of normal and abnormal physiological function, early visualization of disease, difficult-to-image patients, and radiation dose reduction.
"With the Siemens system, we can image incredibly small details in a matter of seconds, without having to make compromises in spatial resolution, scan time, or image quality," said Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., associate professor of radiologic physics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. "There is a dramatic increase in the amount of information we can acquire from a single scan. Because of that, we expect more diagnostic questions to be answered than ever before."
Researchers at the CT Clinical Innovation Center at Mayo Clinic will look at the future role of 64-slice technology in routine clinical work, and hope to advance patient care in areas such as trauma imaging, cardiovascular and neurological applications. Phillip Araoz, MD, Mayo Clinic department of Radiology, will lead a multi-disciplinary team in a trial of gated CT angiography versus conventional cardiac angiography.
Joel Fletcher, MD, assistant professor of radiology, believes that further investigation into the Sensation 64's capabilities will result in a reduction in the need for invasive procedures: "Not only can we conduct exams in a shorter period of time, but we are able to obtain significantly more diagnostic information than with previous systems. Because of the vastly improved spatial resolution and speed, we can image smaller structures, construct the imaging planes that correspond to human anatomy rather than a CT gantry, and image dynamic processes not measured before. We are able to get to the heart of the medical matter quickly, effectively and in a non-invasive and painless procedure for the patient."
The SOMATOM Sensation 64, which gained FDA marketing clearance in April 2004, provides 64 slices per rotation, spatial resolution of 0.4 mm and the world's fastest gantry rotation time at 0.33 seconds, according to Siemens.