GE prepares launch of compact CT systems at RSNA meeting


Many CT sites around the world still run single-slice scanners, according to GE Healthcare. GE is doing something about it.

Many CT sites around the world still run single-slice scanners, according to GE Healthcare. GE is doing something about it.

The company has come up with the BrightSpeed, a new CT platform designed to deliver the same image quality and productivity as its LightSpeed but in a package small enough to fit into the space allotted to single-slice scanners.

"Because single-slice products were developed with a small footprint, we have downsized our multislice CTs to better fit that footprint," said Tom Lamoureux, GE marketing manager for BrightSpeed.

GE has migrated many of the electronics and productivity tools developed for its premier 64-slice LightSpeed VCT into four-, eight-, and 16-slice versions of the BrightSpeed.

These new scanners will be unveiled in two weeks at the RSNA meeting in Chicago. They feature the Xtream FX workflow platform and the Volara digital data acquisition system (DAS).

Xtream FX includes tools to help imaging departments keep pace with the quantity of data generated by multislice systems. One of the primary Xtream tools is Direct Multi-Planar Reformat, which automatically generates views familiar to referring physicians and surgeons.

"As the number of slices has increased, physicians have gotten away from reviewing axial images. Instead they review from reformats," Lamoureux said. "So why not do the reformatting during the acquisition, rather than as an extra step at the end of the acquisition?"

Introduced on the LightSpeed VCT, the Volara 24-bit digital DAS reduces noise as much as 33% compared with the previous DAS. It also takes up much less space, as engineers crammed 64-slice technology into a VCT gantry the size of the original quadslice LightSpeed.

"The DAS is the key piece that needed to be miniaturized as we went from 16 to 64 slices," Lamoureux said. "Now, as we go back to 16 slices on the BrightSpeed, this translates into a smaller gantry and overall footprint."

GE is still working out exactly how much smaller, stating only that the BrightSpeed will fit better than a LightSpeed in space currently occupied by a single-slice CT. It can provide facilities the chance to upgrade from single-slice CT to a more powerful platform without having to renovate or enlarge their CT rooms, according to the company.

BrightSpeed will begin shipping globally early next year. It will be priced comparably with LightSpeed scanners featuring the same number of slices per rotation.

Company strategists haven't yet decided whether the BrightSpeed portfolio will be expanded beyond its current four-, eight-, and 16-slice versions.

"This is a new platform for us, so we are not ready to predict where it will go," Lamoureux said. "But you will see us do some other things with this platform in the future."

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