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Elscint enters variable-angle gamma camera fray with VariCam


System features radial detector movementIsraeli vendor Elscint will join competitors ADAC Laboratories,Park Medical and SMV America (formerly Sopha Medical) in the variable-angledual-head gamma camera segment by debuting VariCam at next

System features radial detector movement

Israeli vendor Elscint will join competitors ADAC Laboratories,Park Medical and SMV America (formerly Sopha Medical) in the variable-angledual-head gamma camera segment by debuting VariCam at next week'sSociety of Nuclear Medicine conference.

The work-in-progress SPECT camera represents Elscint's attemptto create a product that is optimized for all major nuclear medicineapplications, according to Nathan Hermony, vice president andmanager of Elscint's nuclear medicine division.

The rapid growth of the dual-head gamma camera segment promptedElscint to explore adding a new system to its dual-head family.Elscint already markets Apex Helix, a 180° dual-head system,and CardiaL, a 90° dual-head camera, but needed a variable-angleproduct to function as a general-purpose offering. The successof ADAC's Vertex, which has propelled ADAC to a dominant marketshare in the industry, did not go unnoticed, Hermony said.

"I can't tell you we didn't see the success of Vertex,"Hermony said. "Besides the success of ADAC, we believe thereis a market for a general-purpose system that can do both 180°and 90° acquisitions. There are some (companies) that don'thave the volume to have two systems like the Helix and the CardiaL."

VariCam shares some of the same design features as Helix, butdiffers in significant ways. Like Helix, it is a slip-ring system.In addition, VariCam will be capable of simultaneously imaging18-fluorodeoxyglucose and technetium, enabling clinicians to collectdata on both myocardial perfusion and viability with the sameacquisition.

VariCam's technical specifications are also similar to thoseof Helix, with an intrinsic spatial resolution of 3.5 mm (FWHM)and a count rate of 225,000 counts per second in the 20% energywindow. The camera's detectors measure 21.25 x 15.75 inches andemploy the entire face of the detector heads for imaging.

Unlike Helix, however, VariCam features a unique open-gantrydesign, thanks to the same industrial designer responsible forElscint's Privilege MRI scanner, introduced at last year's RadiologicalSociety of North America meeting (SCAN 11/23/94).

In addition, VariCam features more extensive digital architecturethan Helix. Elscint refers to VariCam as an all-digital camera,with signals digitized shortly after each photomultiplier tube.

VariCam's detectors are also capable of moving radially towardand away from the patient while locked in the 90° position.This feature can be employed in conjunction with Elscint's OptiTrackreal-time body contouring function to maintain the detector headsextremely close to a patient during a study without moving thepatient bed, according to Eitan Shaham, sales and marketing manager.

"When you conduct a cardiac scan with the heads in the90° geometry, the camera automatically moves the two headsin and out during the scan," Shaham said. "That meansyou can get the closest proximity to the patient's body duringthe scan in any angle when you scan around the patient."

Elscint is also emphasizing several features that will reducesetup time for VariCam users. The detectors move from 180°to 90° with the push of a single button. OptiTrack also removesthe requirement for a prescan to learn the contours of the patient'sbody before imaging.

Elscint intends to position VariCam as more than just a versatilegeneral-purpose camera, according to Shaham.

"Elscint has tried to optimize the system for all nuclearmedicine applications," Shaham said. "It goes beyondthe variable-angle geometry."

Elscint has not yet filed a 510(k) application for VariCam.The company expects to begin initial production shipments by theend of this year.

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