Siemens completes CT lineup with introduction of Somatom Esprit

March 15, 2000

Siemens AG Medical Engineering, based in Erlangen, Germany, introduced the Somatom Esprit CT scanner at the European Congress of Radiology, completing the company’s revamping of its entire CT lineup. Although the new spiral scanner will be marketed

Siemens AG Medical Engineering, based in Erlangen, Germany, introduced the Somatom Esprit CT scanner at the European Congress of Radiology, completing the company’s revamping of its entire CT lineup. Although the new spiral scanner will be marketed extensively in the U.S. and internationally, the company expects a significant portion of its customers to be small facilities or hospitals in South America and Eastern Europe that cannot afford high-end machines. The estimated price is about $200,000.

Siemens officials stressed that the lower cost did not come at the expense of high technology.

“We are using the latest technology in the Esprit,” said Dr. Richard Hausmann, Siemens vice president of marketing and sales for CT. “We are not producing a lower cost machine for the overseas market by using older technology.”

The Esprit’s longest spiral at full LCD (low contrast detectability) is 40 seconds and its fastest rotational speed is 1.5 seconds. Minimum slice thickness is 1.5 mm. Image quality at LCD is 4 mm/3 HU/100 mAs/26.8 mGy. High contrast detectability is 9.5 Lp/cm (2%) 0.53 cm. Maximum power is 22 kW and the anode heat storage capacity is 1.75 MHU. The gantry aperture is 65 cm with a gantry tilt of ± 25°.

Among the features included on the system are CTA, 3-D postprocessing capabilities, and multiplanar reconstruction. The Esprit’s CARE (Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure) Bolus feature helps decrease the amount of contrast needed, Hausmann said. Other options include osteo and dental imaging packages, perfusion CT, real-time display, turbo reconstruction, and 60-second spiral length. Storage capacity is 14,400 images and reconstruction time, using a 512 x 512 matrix, is six seconds.

To help meet the needs of smaller facilities, the system has a footprint of only 70 square meters, one-day installation, and a tube that does not require an additional cooling system. The temperature range is 15° to 30° C.

Although the Esprit made its worldwide debut at the ECR, the actual scanner was not on display. Instead, Siemens showed a scale model, the workstation, and displays of images. Due to the expense of bringing large equipment to the meeting, most CT and MR manufacturers opted to leave their scanners at home (see related story, page 1).

“It’s a cost-containment issue,” Hausmann said.

He also noted that Siemens’ CT machines have won several design awards. The Somatom Emotion and Balance CT scanners were selected as among the top 10 examples of industrial design by the Forum Industrie and Design Hanover competitions.