GE releases gamma camera for cardiologist office

January 23, 2006

GE Healthcare unveiled to its sales team Jan. 17 a new gamma camera dedicated to cardiology. The lightweight Ventri is designed for heavy patients. The table can hold 440 pounds, and the gantry has a 27.5-inch bore.

GE Healthcare unveiled to its sales team Jan. 17 a new gamma camera dedicated to cardiology. The lightweight Ventri is designed for heavy patients. The table can hold 440 pounds, and the gantry has a 27.5-inch bore.

"Patients in the U.S. are not getting lighter," said Ian Brown, Americas sales manager for GE nuclear medicine products. "This is why we designed the system to be pretty robust."

About half of all nuclear medicine studies involve cardiac applications, Brown said, and many of those are performed outside the hospital. Ventri addresses specifically private physician offices and outpatient imaging centers.

The gamma camera, which Brown said will be "competitively priced," is scheduled to begin shipping in the next few weeks. He expects GE to ship 25 or more units in the first quarter of 2006.

The system accommodates patients in the typical supine position or, less commonly, in a prone position. A special program has been put in for patients who have dextrocardia (heart on the right, rather than the left, side of the chest). This allows the detectors, fixed at a 90° angle, to sweep from the patient's left side to the right.

Patient comforts include arm and leg supports to reduce patient strain and a handrail with a circumference that easily fits a patient's hand.

Technologists benefit from a collimator exchange system designed for ease of use and a detector alignment system, Brown said. The camera, about the size of a WebCam, looks down the bore of the gamma camera. The technologist watches on a wall-mounted monitor as the detectors approach the patient, controlling their alignment with a handheld remote.

The digital detectors are essentially small versions of the Elite detectors onboard GE's general-purpose Infinia gamma camera. They measure 14.4 x 7.3 inches.

The modular design of Ventri might be leveraged to allow the gamma camera to serve as the nuclear component of a hybrid imaging system dedicated to cardiology. A slip-ring gantry with an x-ray tube and CT detector could be placed between the table and the ring on which the gamma detectors are now mounted.

The first such configuration would likely be just for attenuation correction, Brown said. But it might not end there.

"We might see some devices that could combine a diagnostic CT and a cardiac camera with the ability to do CT angiography," he said.