Picker's PQ 6000 CT scanner addscomputer horsepower for CT angio

July 31, 1996

Scanner capable of simultaneous operationsA big boost in computer processing power is the heart of a newCT scanner developed by Picker International. The new system,PQ 6000, stands at the top of the Cleveland vendor's CT productline and includes

Scanner capable of simultaneous operations

A big boost in computer processing power is the heart of a newCT scanner developed by Picker International. The new system,PQ 6000, stands at the top of the Cleveland vendor's CT productline and includes hardware and software optimized for CT angiography.

In developing the system, Picker realized that computer processingpower had fallen behind hardware advances such as more powerfulx-ray tubes and generators, which enable more imaging data tobe collected than ever before, according to Gary Kaufmann, marketingmanager for Picker's CT division.

PQ 6000 attempts to rectify the problem by using a computerarchitecture called large array parallel processors (LAPP). LAPParchitecture uses a series of dedicated processors optimized forfull-speed image acquisition and reconstruction as well as imagevisualization. Picker claims the architecture is faster than othertechniques, like deterministic performance imaging, in which oneoperation must be slowed down for the other to operate at fullspeed.

Because of PQ 6000's versatility, the scanner comes with twooperator's consoles and monitors. Images can be acquired and reconstructedat one console while the other console is used for more complextasks, such as a CT angiography reconstruction with the same patientdata. Kaufmann pointed out that two operators are not needed forroutine acquisition and reconstruction, however.

Picker designed and built the computer that incorporates theLAPP architecture. It is a Unix-based platform with Sun components,and includes 22 gigabytes of image storage. That's enough formore than 2000 seconds of contiguous spiral scanning, Kaufmannsaid.

PQ 6000 shares much of the same hardware platform as PQ 5000,the vendor's previous top-of-the-line scanner, such as a 50-kWgenerator. Like PQ 5000, the new system is a one-second scannerwith a three-second reconstruction time. Other components thatare options on PQ 5000 come standard on PQ 6000, however.

"We said, what is the maximum application that cliniciansare looking for in a spiral scanner today, and the answer is CTangiography," Kaufmann said. "We've put together allof the functional requirements that any CT angiographer, any interventionalist,would be delighted to have."

A 5 million-heat-unit tube comes standard on PQ 6000, as doesPicker's new Zap-180 spiral package, which enables 90 secondsof continuous scanning, compared with 70 seconds on the earlierversion, Zap-100.

PQ 6000 will carry a list price in the $800,000 range. Ownersof Picker PQ 2000S and PQ 5000 scanners can upgrade to the newsystem.

Picker is not at present touting the scanner as capable ofthe type of real-time CT acquisition and display that Toshibais offering with its Aspire CI (continuous imaging) package (SCAN5/8/96). Picker's systems are technically capable of this typeof imaging, according to Kaufmann. The vendor has decided to watchthe clinical development of the technique before it markets aproduct, however.

"It isn't really a well-developed clinical applicationyet," Kaufmann said. "Once that clinical approach matures,we are prepared from a technological point of view to participatein that, virtually instantly."