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High-performance spiral features trickle down to mid-tier CT lines


Evolutionary trends marked the direction of product developmentfor new CT systems introduced at the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica meeting this month. To no one's surprise, spiral imagingremains CT's big selling point and helped this modality

Evolutionary trends marked the direction of product developmentfor new CT systems introduced at the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica meeting this month. To no one's surprise, spiral imagingremains CT's big selling point and helped this modality maintainstable sales in 1993 and 1994. Spiral CT's speed and versatilityare expected to power unit sales growth in 1995.

High-performance features on new moderately priced systems wereshowcased at the RSNA conference. New platforms were introducedto cover more price points, and several vendors stressed modularity.

Imatron's XP upgrade improves the data processing and storagecapacity of the Imatron C-150 scanner, marketed by Siemens asEvolution EBT. A new single-bay computer processes data up tofour times faster than before. The system now acquires and reconstructsa 512 x 512 image in about three seconds and allows up to 63 slicesof continuous volume acquisition.

Elscint introduced its Flash computer hardware and software enhancement,which improves the performance of the vendor's double-helix CTTwin and mid-tier spiral Helicat systems. Reconstruction timeson the Twin were cut by more than half, to two seconds. Increasedprocessing speed enabled Elscint engineers to develop EvolvingSpiral Imaging, a new feature on CT Twin Flash and Helicat Flashthat allows a study to emerge on the console monitor as it isacquired. Elscint also introduced Helicat/S, an entry-level spiralCT scanner capable of two-second 360º acquisitions (SCAN11/23/94).

GE introduced Sytec SRi, the vendor's first helical CT scannerfor less than $500,000. It is capable of 1.5-second, 360ºacquisition and 200-mA capability from its 2 million-heat-unit(MHU) tube. Reconstructions may be completed in eight to 11 secondswith three-second cycle times. The helical option allows up to35 slices of continuous acquisition. Older Sytec models are upgradableto the spiral configuration.

GE also featured a shift on its mid-tier ProSpeed product line.The ProSpeed S, SX and Plus were phased out in favor of a newbase model capable of numerous configurations, including two helicalpackages and a faster reconstruction option.

A mid-tier product entry from Philips earned featured treatment.The new Tomoscan SR 4000 is a $600,000 spiral scanner that handlesroutine scans in less than three seconds of scan time with examsof up to 25 slices completed along with reconstruction withinfour minutes. The 25-kW generator allows tube currents up to 200mA to be selected at 120 kV. Philips also displayed a transportableCT system by Analogic as a work-in-progress (SCAN 12/14/94).

Picker emphasized the power and versatility of its PQ 5000 work-in-progressscanner. Standard features include 50 kW of generating power anda 3.4-MHU tube. The PQ 5000V vascular configuration with optionaldual console was highlighted. One console/computer combinationis devoted to acquisition, while a second console/computer pairingis used for data visualization. The system uses Picker's synchronousvascular injection planning (SVIP) system, a low-dose method thattimes data acquisition with contrast agent release at the pointof interest. The system is capable of simultaneously showing acquiredimages in maximum intensity projections and in Interview, a Pickerimaging mode that allows the user to control the opacity of vesselsappearing in the image.

Siemens boasts that its new Somatom Plus 4 can complete 360ºrotations in 750 milliseconds and can operate for up to 60 secondsin continuous spiral mode (SCAN 11/23/94). Siemens announced achange to a modular approach for its mid-priced CT line. The newSomatom AR.SP slip-ring system comprises a gantry, power distributionsystem and console that can be installed in 215 sq. ft. in justtwo days.

Shimadzu featured the SCT-4800TF and the new SCT 7000 series(SCAN 11/23/94). The SCT-4800TF gained Food and Drug Administrationclearance in June. Its generator can power both the CT scannerand an x-ray room (SCAN 9/14/94). The SCT 7000 series will bringShimadzu into the spiral CT field. FDA clearance is expected inlate 1995.

Xvision is Toshiba's newest entry in the highly popular mid-tierhelical CT market segment (SCAN 4/20/94 and 8/31/94). The solid-statesystem is sold in three basic configurations for $650,000 to $800,000.Scan times range from one to six seconds. Continuous 50-secondhelical scanning is achieved using a standard 2-MHU tube. A 3.5-MHUtube is optional.

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