Philips makes MR smarter, faster

December 12, 2005

Philips Medical Solutions wants operators of its MR scanners to work smarter, not harder. To help, the company developed SmartExam.

Philips Medical Solutions wants operators of its MR scanners to work smarter, not harder. To help, the company developed SmartExam.

Technology unveiled at the RSNA meeting in December automates the planning, scanning, and processing of MR scans. This decreases overall exam time, while increasing consistency and reliability, according to the company. The algorithm runs on all Philips MR systems.

The process begins with settings stored in Philips' ExamCards, which are customized for individual exams. SmartExam automatically detects anatomic landmarks in a survey scan of the patient, then plans the diagnostic scans related to the patient's actual position in the magnet.

The operator defines the spatial resolution, and SmartExam does the rest, according to Philips, automatically maintaining resolution and image contrast regardless of variations in the field-of-view.

Other MR enhancements shown at the Philips booth include diffusion body scanning, which is designed to improve detection of lesions throughout the body. 4D-TRAK MR Angiography (4D time-resolved angiography using keyhole) makes MR angiography up to 60 times faster. It allows the visualization, for example, of feeding and draining arteries and veins in arteriovenous malformations.

FiberTrak visualizes white matter fibers in the brain, providing a map that neurosurgeons can use to avoid or minimize damage to the neurologic pathways that control speech and movement. Another feature, k-t BLAST, boosts the speed of cardiac MR by a factor of five, reducing scan times for the heart and making cine cardiac MRI in a single breath-hold a reality.