Hybrid imaging invades new turf

November 30, 2004

Hybrid imaging dominates the nuclear medicine section of the RSNA exhibit floor. Philips and Siemens are promoting multislice SPECT/CT, while GE, which pioneered the idea five years ago, is showing an upgraded version of its Infinia gamma camera coupled to a single-slice, nondiagnostic CT for attenuation correction.

Hybrid imaging dominates the nuclear medicine section of the RSNA exhibit floor. Philips and Siemens are promoting multislice SPECT/CT, while GE, which pioneered the idea five years ago, is showing an upgraded version of its Infinia gamma camera coupled to a single-slice, nondiagnostic CT for attenuation correction.

GE and Siemens are taking the high ground in PET/CT, demonstrating 64-slice versions of their hybrid scanners. The Discovery VCT may not appear, however, for another 12 to 18 months, according to the company. The souped-up biograph is scheduled for delivery in mid-2005. Both are intended for cardiac applications.

"The only real need for a 64-slice CT is in the cardiac environment," said Markus B. Lusser, vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Siemens nuclear medicine division.

Philips' 16-slice Gemini PET/CT has been upgraded to support cardiovascular assessments, as well as Alzheimer's disease applications. The company, which previously offered a dual- and 16-slice PET/CT, also expanded its portfolio with offerings that feature six and 10 slices.

The developers of multislice SPECT/CT hope their new products will do for gamma cameras what hybrid imaging did for PET. In their first appearance at an RSNA meeting, Siemens' TruePoint Symbia and Philips' Precedence are attracting large crowds. Symbia can be configured to combine a dual- or six-slice CT with Siemens' e.cam dual-detector gamma camera. Precedence combines the company's Skylight gamma camera technology, using vertically hung dual detectors, with its Brilliance multislice CT platform available with six slices for oncology or 16 for cardiology.

Cost will be a factor for customers deciding whether to purchase these systems. Precedence and Symbia could cost well over $1 million. GE's Infinia Hawkeye costs only about half as much, due largely to its reliance on a simpler and less costly CT.