Diagnostic imaging  

GE's new volume CT scanner reduces radiation exposure by 70%

4 December 2006

GE Healthcare's LightSpeed VCT XT computed tomography (CT) scanner maintains outstanding image quality while reducing a patient’s radiation exposure by up to 70% for diagnostic cardiac scans. It includes hardware and enhanced applications that allows users to add the clinical value of volume CT by providing new capabilities for imaging the heart, head, and other body parts.

“As leaders in CT, GE continues to focus on developing technologies that provide clinical excellence and outstanding image quality while reducing dose exposure for patients,” said Gene Saragnese, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s CT and Molecular Imaging business. “The LightSpeed VCT XT provides clarity, additional information and helps to generate confident physician diagnoses while reducing radiation exposure in diagnostic cardiac scans.”

Radiologists who have used the LightSpeed VCT XT advanced applications have found that these technical and clinical innovations have transformed how and when they use CT.

Synchronizing the heart rate

In standard cardiac CT exams, the X-ray is on for the duration of a scan, even during periods when a patient’s heart is at an undesirable phase. With the SnapShot Pulse system, an automated response to a patient’s heart rate ensures that the X-ray is only on for portions of a scan. This process, called prospective triggered gating, significantly reduces a patient’s X-ray exposure time.

“I’ve been doing Cardiac CT for four years, and this is the most exciting development that I’ve used, having the ability to significantly reduce radiation dose,” said Dr. James Earls of Fairfax Radiological Consultants, Fairfax, Va. “The patient benefit is huge — to be able to reduce the dose by up to 70% in some cases really changes the paradigm on how radiologists will approach patients who are presenting with different degrees of risk factors.”

Not missing a beat

The LightSpeed VCT XT is the first multi-slice scanner capable of performing CT angiographic (CTA) studies where the table moves from one location to the next to cover the entire volume of the patient’s heart, a mode of scanning called step-and-shoot. The LightSpeed VCT XT tracks a patient’s heart rate real-time so the X-ray and acquisition time is driven by each individual patient, enabling clinicians to obtain high quality images with a very low dose exposure.

“Based on over 100 patients scanned with our new system, we were able to obtain high image quality for a wide range of patient sizes while the average radiation dose was about 5 mSv with a range of 1 to 9 mSv,” said Dr. Jean-Louis Sablayrolles, Head of CT Cardiac Imaging Radiology at the Centre Cardiologique de Nord (CCN) in Saint-Denis, France.

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