Seeking to drive down patient radiation dose, Siemens Healthcare unveiled a new technology platform for its CT scanners, one that not only cuts dose but speeds the exam and promotes more efficient patient handling.
FAST CARE (which stands for Fully Assisting Scanner Technologies and Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure) simplifies workflow during scanning and the preparation of image reconstructions. It also cuts radiation dose and exam times. The key is automation, as algorithms take over time-consuming tasks, suggest parameters for those affecting image quality and dose reduction, and standardize processes. Natural consequences, according to the company, are faster, safer, and more reproducible results.
The technology platform and all its applications will be available within six months, as either standard or optional features on new systems.
- In March 2011, all Somatom Definition AS configurations from entry level 20-slice to a premium 128-slice AS+ will come equipped with dose-reducing CARE technologies as standard features and workflow-optimizing FAST technologies as options.
- In May 2011, CARE will be standard and FAST optional on new Somatom Definition Flash systems. Also that month, upgrades will be available for installed Definition AS scanners.
- In July 2011, upgrades will be available for installed Definition Flash systems.
FAST CARE brings dose reduction and process optimization together in a single platform, according to Dr. Sami Atiya, CEO of the computed tomography business unit at Siemens Healthcare. Cutting dose has become a high priority in the imaging community and is a major theme in the Siemens booth at this year’s RSNA meeting.
CARE applications exemplify this theme. CARE Profile automatically displays dose distribution for the planned examination, visualizing the impact of dose modulation used during the examination. CARE Dashboard shows which dose-reduction functions have been activated during CARE Profile so the operator can optimize the examination protocols and scan parameters. CARE kV helps reduce dose by up to 60%, according to the company, as the scanner suggests the correct tube voltage (kV) depending on the patient’s anatomy and the organ to be examined. Once the kV level is selected, all other parameters are automatically adjusted. This enhances the low dose acquisition potential that can be achieved with Care Dose4D, which modulates the amperage (mA) in real-time. CARE Child allows, for the first time, CT examinations to be performed using just 70 kV, which significantly reduces dose levels.
Speed is also a priority, particularly with CT’s increasing prominence in the emergency department. FAST technologies simplify and automate time-consuming and complex procedures in CT. The anatomy of the individual patient is automatically considered, as FAST Planning standardizes body areas to scan and reconstruct, FAST Cardio Wizard offers step-by-step instructions for cardiac studies, FAST Scan Assistant and FAST Adjust identify appropriate parameters to balance image quality and dose, and FAST Spine saves time by reducing the manual steps needed to prepare spine reconstructions, which is particularly important when examining spine trauma patients.
FAST CARE can be combined with syngo.via, Siemens’ software platform for diagnosing clinical images, to optimize the entire examination process, according to Siemens. Doing so brings together all the steps involved in scan preparation, exam performance, and scan reconstruction, as well as image interpretation.