The advent of multislice technology nearly a decade ago led to a sea change in discussions about CT. Hardly a sentence could be spoken without mentioning numbers, whether they were slices, rotations, or reconstruction speeds. Radiology's number obsession was overshadowed at the 2005 RSNA meeting, however, by the development of new technologies, efficient platforms, and even an architectural adaptation designed to put a friendlier face on the patient experience.
The dominant vendor in the North American CT market showcased its flagship LightSpeed VCT, which scored its 500th installation worldwide prior to the RSNA meeting. Postprocessing enhancements for the VCT and the addition of a lower tier CT platform were other highlights.
A provider of CT systems to Philips before the introduction of multislice technology, Hitachi returned to the CT arena in spring with the introduction of a quadslice scanner. As the year drew to a close and the imaging community congregated in Chicago, the company added a 16-slice version. Both systems, members of the CXR platform, are built around components developed and supplied by Analogic.
Long-timer vendor of CT injectors Medrad showcased its Stellant D dual-syringe injector with a software work-in-progress upgrade for cardiac CT imaging. The experimental system is designed to advise users on injection protocols as determined by patient characteristics.
The Danvers, MA, start-up presented its first product to RSNA visitors, the multislice CereTom. The compact, ultraportable, and cordless CereTom, which cleared the FDA in July, is designed to improve access to high-quality CT imaging for head and neck imaging, particularly involving traumatic brain injury. It features a 25-cm field-of-view.
Philips extended its Brilliance platform with postprocessing advances aimed at extending the clinical base of CT outside typical applications to include virtual colonoscopy and cardiology, while replying technologically to recent developments in dual-energy CT by Siemens. Expressing its penchants for patient comfort and productivity, the company unveiled an architectural adaptation of the CT suite designed to bring patients closer to family and staff.
Siemens dropped the other shoe in the days leading up to the RSNA meeting with the release of its Somatom Definition dual-source CT scanner. Siemens earlier had been accused by competitors of developing a "band-aid" - z-Sharp technology, which doubles the slice production of the scanner's 32-row detector - to cover its inability to fabricate a 64-slice detector. But with the release of the dual-source Definition, it became apparent that z-Sharp was only the first step in a radically different approach to CT.
The past year has established the 64-slice Aquilion as among the best of the superpremium scanners. The CFX configuration is optimized for cardiac applications. This year marked the commercial introduction of a large-bore Aquilion for bariatric and oncological applications.