CT: No Matter How You Slice It - Better, Stronger, Faster
It's an exciting year for computed tomography debuts at RSNA, with several new systems being unveiled, and advancements in peripheral devices designed to enhance CT imaging studies. Sixty-four channel detectors are the order of the day - but enhancements to 16- and 32-slice scanners are really pushing the field, too.

Siemens Medical Solutions (booth #2729) is showcasing its new SOMATOM Sensation Cardiac 64. Optimized for cardiac, thoracic and vascular imaging, this 64-slice CT system enables an ECG-gated coverage of the entire chest in a 20-second breath-hold. The system features a 0.33-second rotation time and z-Sharp Technology to deliver optimal image quality with a spatial resolution of 0.4 millimeters. The Somatom Sensation Cardiac 64 is designed to provide enhanced spatial resolution and image quality without an increase in x-ray dose. The system's temporal and isotropic spatial resolution may now allow for virtually motion-free visualization of peripheral segments of the coronary arteries including plaque evaluation and post-stent patency assessment. The first unit was installed at the Mayo Clinic in August, and these scanners will be commercially available this fall.

For the first time, GE Healthcare (booth #2700) will accomplish a global launch of two products simultaneously within the CT segment this year.

The first offering is the LightSpeed VCT (Volume CT), which provides a combination of simultaneous wide volume coverage and high resolution via a 64-channel detector that offers 4 cm coverage and a resolution of 0.35mm. The most significant clinical application for this system will be cardiac studies. Acquisition time for a typical exam is 5 seconds.

The second product launch involves the LightSpeed Pro32 helical multislice CT, which advances the 16 series scanners. It is beneficial for cardiac studies, angiography, and perfusion studies, GE said. Although it does provide 4 cm coverage, the resolution is not up to the standard of the VCT.

Both products will be fully commercially available in the first quarter of 2005.

Philips Medical Systems (booth #7113) is unveiling the Brilliance CT Scanner 64 configuration for the first time at RSNA, along with a new version of the software for the Brilliance workstation (Brilliance Workspace version 2.0). It provides substantial improvements in speed of acquisition for cardiac and lung applications.

From a software perspective, one of the primary considerations that Philips incorporated into its new version is the ability to interface with any appropriate information system within the healthcare institution. Guided Flow productivity qualities help the user progress through set-up, acquisition and processing of the data in a time-effective manner designed to improve throughput.

Both products are scheduled to begin shipping in June 2005.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (booth #7149) is showcasing its new Aquilion 64 CFX CT system that has been optimized for coronary artery exams. The system features Toshiba's 64-row Quantum detector for simultaneous 64-slice scanning with a spatial resolution of 0.35 millimeter, volume imaging capabilities and proprietary software applications designed to automate complex diagnostic cardiac studies.

The software applications suite, known as SUREWorkflow, is designed to ensure image quality, repeatability and productivity by automating complex CT studies.

Cardinal Health (booth #2721) is featuring a new CT dose phantom that provides one complete set of quality assurance dose phantoms for children and adults. It consists of three parts: an adult body phantom, an adult head phantom that doubles as a pediatric body phantom, and the new pediatric head phantom. Each phantom can be purchased separately or combined in a kit according to a particular practice's needs.

Medrad Inc. (booth #1929) is unveiling the Stellant D CT Injection system at RSNA this year.

The DualFlow Simultaneous injection option enables both contrast and saline injection at the same time through variable ratios of synchronized plunger motion. With the proper ratio, the left and right heart ventricles can be illuminated uniformly for improved image quality. It includes a pressure monitor graph, improved syringe design, syringe auto load and the ability to upgrade from single to dual injection.

TeraRecon (booth #4343) is introducing a scalable cone beam CT reconstruction cluster based on the Xtrillion processor technology. The system will deliver CT reconstruction of a 2048 cube in less than 30 minutes.

To enhance its line of high-resolution, high-speed 3D cone beam CT scanners, TeraRecon will announce two additional configurations with sub 10-micron resolution.