Diagnostic imaging  

GE Healthcare introduces world's first volumetric PET/CT System

30 November 2005

Chicago, USA. GE Healthcare introduced the company's new Discovery VCT, which it says is the world's first true 64-slice combination positron emission tomography and volume computed tomography (PET/CT) system for cardiac imaging applications.

Launched at the RSNA2005 congress in Chicago, GE's new Discovery VCT has the potential to transform the way physicians diagnose and treat heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

The Discovery VCT marries the high-speed, high-resolution capabilities of GE's volumetric CT with the metabolic and physiologic capabilities of its industry leading PET system. By combining these scanning technologies, the Discovery VCT provides the tools to enable physicians to more accurately diagnose and identify heart disease and other conditions, including cancer and neurological disorders.

"We are entering a new era of less invasive cardiovascular imaging in which volumetric PET/CT imaging will play a major role in managing heart disease," said Joe Hogan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare. "Combining the functional capabilities of PET with the speed and resolution of volume CT will revolutionize cardiovascular imaging and transform the diagnosis and treatment decisions of heart disease."

Much like a gardener can visually assess areas of a lawn that are not getting sufficient water supply, using PET technology a physician can assess areas of the heart that are not getting sufficient blood supply, and, as a result, are not viable. To determine the root cause of a problem lawn, a gardener can look for blockages in the irrigation system; similarly, a physician can look for stenosis in the coronary arteries using the volumetric CT technology. The combination of these capabilities in a single system, the Discovery VCT, will provide the most comprehensive view of a patient's heart.

"By combining GE's PET and volumetric CT capabilities, the Discovery VCT will enable physicians to access essential functional and anatomical patient data, including perfusion map at rest and peak cardiac stress, CT angiography and cardiac calcium score, all in one setting," said Dr. Marcelo Di Carli, director of Nuclear Medicine/PET and co-director of Cardiovascular Imaging at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. "The information made available through Discovery VCT images will help physicians quickly and accurately diagnose cardiovascular patients, eliminating unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures while guiding more appropriate treatment decisions."

Levering innovation

GE originally designed the LightSpeed VCT, the world's first volume CT system introduced in 2004, to easily integrate with its PET technology. GE recently announced the 500th installation of the LightSpeed VCT making it the fastest selling product in the company's history. GE was the first company to introduce volumetric CT scanning, the ability to combine record-breaking acquisition speed and high-resolution capabilities in a single CT system.

"Developing the world's only volumetric, 64-slice PET/CT is a logical extension of our success with the LightSpeed VCT," said Gene Saragnese vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare's global Molecular Imaging and CT business.

The LightSpeed VCT is able to noninvasively capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in fewer than five heartbeats — something no other CT system can offer. In a single rotation, the system creates 64 credit-card-thin images, totalling 40 millimetres of anatomical coverage. These images are combined to form a three-dimensional view of the patient's anatomy for the physician to analyze.

"The Discovery VCT, like the LightSpeed VCT, was built for physicians based on their clinical needs, from the ground up," said Saragnese. "The speed and resolution of the LightSpeed VCT combined with the functional capabilities of PET will keep GE at the forefront of diagnostic cardiovascular care."

Industry leader in Cardiac PET/CT

GE says its flagship Discovery PET/CT system is the cardiac PET/CT market leader. It provides anatomical and physiological information and improving diagnostic confidence when assessing coronary artery disease and cardiac viability. GE has invested more than $160 million in the research and development of hybrid imaging technology and holds 25 related patents.

The company first began its work combining images with the development of the GE Millennium VG Hawkeye SPECT/CT system in 1999, and launched the first commercially available PET/CT, the Discovery LS, in 2001.

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