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Lung scanning OK widens Imatron’s EBT market

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Imatron plans to use its electron beam tomography scanner to perform low-dose, single-breath-hold imaging of the entire lung. The FDA cleared the lung scanning application of Imatron’s EBT unit earlier this month.EBT scanning is three to five times

Imatron plans to use its electron beam tomography scanner to perform low-dose, single-breath-hold imaging of the entire lung. The FDA cleared the lung scanning application of Imatron’s EBT unit earlier this month.

EBT scanning is three to five times faster than rotating or spiral CT scanners, and much costlier. This market clearance gives Imatron another use for its EBT technology at a time when the cheaper multislice CT has been eating into the company’s position with coronary calcium screening.

Imatron has about 60 of its C150XP EBT scanners in place for coronary scanning in centers around the world.

“Most people buy our scanner for the calcium scanning,” said Jeff Sorenson, Imatron’s director of marketing. “It was originally designed to image the heart, then was converted to radiography. Our business focus is wellness applications: coronary calcium, electron beam angiography, lung scanning, and colonoscopy.”

Imatron is specifically cleared for the first three. Lung scanning is being prescribed for patients who are suspected of having pulmonary emboli, pneumonia, or cancerous lung nodules. Many of the same patients are referred for coronary scanning, according to Imatron product manager David Hill.

“I think (the 510(k) clearance for lung scanning) will help us competitively,” Hill said, “but we still think coronary calcium scanning by EBT is the best. Multislice CT (results are) not as reproducible, because it is not as fast.”

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