GE introduces smart software at ECR to tackle bottlenecks in CT processing

March 19, 2003

Xtream offers image reformatting at consoleGE Medical Systems launched a new software platform March 7 at the European Congress of Radiology designed to ease workflow bottlenecks in the CT suite. This technology, called Xtream, is

Xtream offers image reformatting at console

GE Medical Systems launched a new software platform March 7 at the European Congress of Radiology designed to ease workflow bottlenecks in the CT suite. This technology, called Xtream, is designed to be installed on the operator console of GE's LightSpeed multidetector scanners, offering a one-touch protocol for image reconstruction.

"It's not only about speed. It's also about simplifying the work of the doctor," said Jean Michel Malbrancq, general manager for GE's CT marketing and sales in Europe. "With a single-touch protocol, everything is faster, and this leaves more time for doctors to be with their patients."

One click on the console during axial scanning starts reconstruction of sagittal and coronal views at six frames per second. GE aims to ramp this up to 15 frames per second by the end of the year, according to Camille Farhat, general manager for global CT product development and marketing with GE Medical Systems.

"I'm not claiming that it's up to six frames per second, or that it's theoretically six frames per second. It is six frames per second in any mode you decide to do it today, and it'll be 15 frames per second in any mode you decide to do it tomorrow," he said. "If you think about a series of images, say a cardiac exam of 1500 to 3000 images, with reconstruction time of 15 frames per second, you're flying through it."

The push to develop an easy-to-use higher performance platform came primarily from concerns over the increasing image-processing burden associated with the new generation of 16-slice CT, according to Farhat. The simultaneous scan-reformat feature will allow radiologists and technologists to take advantage of the benefits multidetector CT can offer without being overwhelmed by the added amount of image data.

"We can talk about the next system and how many more slices it's going to deliver, but if you don't have the infrastructure and the platform to deal with the reading tools, with the patient workflow, then what are you doing? You're just incrementally adding more work to the radiologist," Farhat said.

He describes the product development process as a repeated invention and discovery loop to keep up with customer demands.

"You lead with invention and say, 'Hey, here's the 16-slice CT system,'" he said. "Then as people start using 16-slice scanners in volume acquisition mode, you discover you've really created a bottleneck, so then you have to go back and respond. We will continue to go through that cycle."

GE plans to start shipping Xtream on its LightSpeed MDCT scanners later this month. Existing customers of GE's LightSpeed portfolio, which spans 16-, eight-, and quad-slice imaging, will have the option to upgrade later this year.

"We're taking care of the whole installed base of 3000 LightSpeed users, by coming up with a platform that everyone can participate in," Farhat said.