Elscint camera taps cardiac growth

June 30, 1993

Elscint has targeted nuclear medicine's growing cardiology segmentwith a gamma camera unveiled at this month's Society of NuclearMedicine meeting in Toronto. Dubbed Apex SPX CardiaL, the fixed90´-angle, dual-head unit spearheads a general upgrade

Elscint has targeted nuclear medicine's growing cardiology segmentwith a gamma camera unveiled at this month's Society of NuclearMedicine meeting in Toronto. Dubbed Apex SPX CardiaL, the fixed90´-angle, dual-head unit spearheads a general upgrade inElscint's gamma camera line.

Cardiology studies make up 30% of nuclear medicine proceduresperformed each year, and the number of heart studies is growingby 15% annually, according to A. Robert Sohval, executive vicepresident and general manager of Elscint's U.S. subsidiary inHackensack, NJ. CardiaL should tap nuclear cardiology demand byoffering physicians both single-photon emission computed tomography and biplane stress testing capabilities.

CardiaL's swiveling L-shaped heads enable users to performsupine SPECT imaging and then, with the detectors turned outward,upright stress testing. The tests can be performed as part ofthe same procedure, according to Sohval.

"The patient can be sitting on a bicycle and undergo astress test, then as part of the same procedure on the same camera,you can do SPECT imaging," he said. "You can do a sestamibiexam where you do a first pass under stress, and subsequentlydo a cardiac SPECT exam."

The camera competes directly with GE's Optima, also a 90´fixed-detector scanner (SCAN 12/4/91). Elscint claims that witha detector size of 400 x 240 mm, CardiaL's field-of-view is largerthan Optima's, making it easier for users to position the myocardiumwithin the camera's field-of-view.

CardiaL will also face competition from increasingly popularvariable-angle dual-head cameras, such as Sopha's SophycameraDST and ADAC's Genesys Vertex (SCAN 12/16/92). Variable-angledual-head cameras are more versatile than fixed-detector unitsand can be used for brain and whole-body exams in addition tocardiac studies.

Elscint, however, is claiming that L-shaped units like theCardiaL have distinct advantages for cardiac studies. Fixed L-shapedcameras save on patient setup time because the detectors don'thave to be moved. Variable-angle units also require considerableattention to quality control to ensure that the detectors arecalibrated correctly, according to Thomas Schwarz, nuclear medicineproduct manager.

"The camera is more complex, the setup requires more time,the user has to pay more attention to quality control procedures,which is time-consuming, and not paying attention to that (willcause) image quality to degrade," Schwarz said. "Becauseof those drawbacks, even if it is attractive to have everythingin one camera, we thought it might be beneficial for cardiologyapplications to have a rigid 90´ camera."

Elscint has applied for Food and Drug Administration 510(k)clearance for CardiaL and expects to begin deliveries of the cameraby the end of the year.

CardiaL will bring the number of cameras in Elscint's lineto seven--four single-heads and three dual-heads. An upgrade tothose cameras was also unveiled at the SNM meeting. Elscint hasincreased the power of its on-board computers and has renamedits camera line Apex SPX to reflect the changes.

Apex SPX cameras have four to five times the processing powerof the previous Apex SP line, resulting in faster processing andbetter image quality, according to Schwarz. The new computer platformruns on an Intel 486 66-MHz microprocessor, with 340 megabytesof storage and a new high-quality 21-inch display monitor.

"For customers, the biggest difference is a much fullerprocessing workstation that they are getting with the system,"Schwarz said.

Previous models of Elscint cameras in the field can be upgradedto Apex SPX, Schwarz said. Apex SPX is connective to earlier Apexand Apex SP units via Ethernet.

BRIEFLY NOTED:

  • Hewlett-Packard unveiled a trapezoidal linear-array transducertechnology this month that the vendor claims more than doublesthe visualization of conventional linear arrays. The trapezoidalformat, developed by HP for vascular imaging applications, overlaysa sector beam pattern on a conventional linear format, addinga 30% field-of-view on both sides of the imaging area. This enablesthe user to scan vessels quicker and display entire organs, suchas the kidney, in one view, HP said.

The first two HP trapezoidal linear-array transducers willoperate on the HP Sonos system at dual frequencies of 7.5/5.5MHz and 4.5/3.5 MHz. They have a list price of $16,000 each. Switchingfrequencies for deeper scanning is assisted by the wider field-of-viewof the trapezoidal probes, which enables the technologist to obtainbetter angles for measuring blood-flow velocity at depth, thecompany said.