Digital radiography goes mobile

March 9, 2003

Visitors to ECR's technical exhibition are getting a chance to practice their driving skills. Instrumentarium Imaging is showcasing a digital mobile x-ray unit, and it appears eager for delegates to test-drive the battery-operated system.The Shuttle

Visitors to ECR's technical exhibition are getting a chance to practice their driving skills. Instrumentarium Imaging is showcasing a digital mobile x-ray unit, and it appears eager for delegates to test-drive the battery-operated system.

The Shuttle DR, introduced in Vienna as a work-in-progress, is the world's first mobile x-ray unit offering direct digital radiology (DR), according to the Helsinki-based company. The Shuttle unit is also compatible with conventional film and computed radiography plates, with a pull-out box for film or plate storage replacing the DR modality workstation.

Shuttle DR users will be able to choose from either a 24 x 30-cm or 35 x 43-cm portable flat-panel detector, both of which are being supplied by Canon. The larger panel (CXDI-50G) is also debuting at the ECR as the first portable large-area flat-panel detector.

"The larger panel will be extremely useful in adult intensive care units and will provide better access to the abdomen," said Martien Oerlemans, a DR products specialist with Canon Europa N.V. "Patients are immobile and cannot come to the x-ray, so the x-ray has to come to them."

Instrumentarium is promoting the maneuverability and versatility of the Shuttle DR. The unit was designed to fit between beds in intensive and cardiac care units, pediatric and neonatal units, and emergency wards. A rotating arm allows adjacent patients to be scanned in turn.

The Shuttle unit has sufficient power to take 50 chest images before recharging. Applications requiring longer exposure are also possible, given the system's 32-kW, 400-mAs power. Exposure times can be reduced in "shivering patient" mode to reduce motion artifacts if patients are unconscious or shaking.

"One big advantage with the Shuttle is that you never have to go back for a retake. If the patient has moved, you see that immediately," Oerlemans said.