Slice wars erupted again this year on the exhibit floor of the RSNA meeting, despite protests by vendors as recently as last summer that hostilities were nowhere in sight. The relative calm of the past two years, during which 16-slice scanners held the
Slice wars erupted again this year on the exhibit floor of the RSNA meeting, despite protests by vendors as recently as last summer that hostilities were nowhere in sight. The relative calm of the past two years, during which 16-slice scanners held the high ground, ended days before the meeting when Philips announced it would unveil a new family of CT scanners whose flagship would have more than 16 slices. When the exhibit floor opened, Philips was not alone. Its 40-slice Brilliance had been joined by megaslice versions of the Toshiba Aquilion and Siemens Sensation.
In the jockeying that followed, interpretations and definitions became the favored weapons of close combat. Resolution, clinical value, and coverage came into issue. As each of the superpremium scanners was still a work-in-progress, the only sure thing was the uncertainty that would prevail until these systems became widely available, a time that could stretch to the end of 2004.
GE Medical Systems
At this year's RSNA meeting, GE stayed out of the slice wars, focusing instead on extensions of existing products. These involved the 16-slice GE LightSpeed, standard-bearer for the company in CT, and a quadslice family member designed specifically for oncology.
Philips Medical Systems
The acquisition in 2001 of Marconi Medical Systems transformed Philips into a global leader in multidetector CT. In 2003, the company took it up a notch, engineering a 40-slice scanner as the head of its new Brilliance family of scanners, with multiple price and performance points.
Siemens Medical Systems
No other vendor has sought to populate the CT landscape with as many choices as Siemens. The company has two CT families, Emotion and Sensation, each oriented toward different market segments. Emotion appeals more to budget-conscious customers; Sensation more to customers with budgets in line with high-performance clinical demands. The work-in-progress Sensation flagship delivers 64 slices.
Toshiba America Medical Systems
Two families of CT scanners address the differing likes of Toshiba customers: the value-oriented Asteion and the premium Aquilion. The company this year highlighted a work-in-progress 32-slice Aquilion.