Siemens FAST CARE CT platform sets new standards for dose reduction
10 Dec 2010
FAST CARE from Siemens Healthcare is a new technology platform
for CT scanners that helps hospital staff to perform CT examinations
faster and more efficiently than before as well as keeping the dose for
the patient as low as possible.
The new applications simplify workflows during scanning and in the
preparation of image reconstructions. Patients benefit from lower
radiation doses and shorter examination times as the system
automates many operating procedures, suggests parameter settings for
image quality and dose reduction and standardizes processes which
makes results more readily reproducible.
These enhancements help CT operators and service providers improve
their productivity. FAST CARE will be available on the SOMATOM
Definition AS scanners in March 2011, and on the SOMATOM Definition
Flash scanners in May 2011.
SOMATOM Definition product family CT scanners that are already on
the market can be upgraded to the new platform. Two of the major
current needs in computed tomography for which Siemens has developed
the new platform are optimization of the processes relating to
patient diagnostic examinations and reducing the doses necessary for
The new technology platform's applications therefore focus on two
aspects: Fully Assisting Scanner Technologies (FAST) support process
optimization and Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure (CARE)
assist with dose reduction.
"The key innovation of our new FAST CARE platform is that, for
the first time, dose-reducing and process-optimizing functions are
operating in tandem. This reflects our aspiration to help our
customers to increase their productivity in the clinical environment
while ensuring optimal patient care," said Dr Sami Atiya, CEO
Computed Tomography at Siemens Healthcare.
The FAST technologies simplify and automate time-consuming and
complex procedures in computed tomography. This improves not only
the workflows, but also the results: as they make it easier to
operate the equipment and to reproduce results. The FAST functions
support doctors and radiology technologists at every step of a CT
examination, from planning and image acquisition to reconstruction
and diagnosis of the images. The key feature is that the anatomy of
the individual patient is automatically taken into account.
The most important applications in this family include FAST
Planning for standardized determination of the correct scan and
reconstruction areas. FAST Cardio Wizard offers step-by-step
instructions in the user interface to help operators gain practice
in the complex preparations
for cardiac examinations. FAST Scan
Assistant and FAST Adjust determine the appropriate parameters for
performing CT examinations with the best possible image quality.
FAST Spine can reduce the work of preparing for spine
reconstructions, resulting in considerable time savings. With just a
single click, the operator can select the desired region of the
spine from a list of typical predefined scan regions. FAST Spine
then determines the correct position of the planes to be
reconstructed and identifies all vertebrae and intervertebral discs
accordingly. This results in considerable time savings, particularly
with emergency patients, and can enhance the therapeutic safety of
When used in combination with syngo.via, the software platform
for diagnosing clinical images from Siemens, FAST CARE optimizes the
entire examination process, as it brings together all the steps
involved, from scan preparation and performance through image
reconstruction to diagnosis, in a single integrated solution.
From the patient's point of view, however, it is not enough just
to improve the processes — administering the lowest possible dose is
just as important. In CT, a great deal of importance is rightly
attached to the Alara principle (Alara = as low as reasonably
Along with its FAST applications, Siemens CT delivers a
comprehensive range of new CARE applications for dose reduction.
These include, for example, automatic display of the dose
distribution for the planned examination using CARE Profile. CARE
Dashboard shows the operator the activated dose reduction functions,
so that they can then further optimize the examination protocols and
In principle it is possible to improve the image quality
considerably and at the same time to optimize the dose by selecting
the correct voltage level for the CT for the particular patient and
organ involved. If the tube voltage is altered, however, all the
other scan parameters also have to be adjusted accordingly. But as
the dependencies are not linear, the values must currently be
calculated manually using complicated formulae.
Studies have shown that for this reason, operators do not
normally alter voltage values and thus do not exploit the full
potential for dose reduction. Siemens is offering a solution to this
problem for the first time: CARE kV suggests the correct tube
voltage depending on the patient's anatomy and the organ to be
examined. All other parameters are automatically adjusted to suit
the selected kV level. This optimizes the contrast-tonoise ratio in
the image and allows reduction of the dose by up to 60 per cent.
While voltages commonly used today lie between 80 and 140 kV
(kilovolts), with CARE Child CT examinations can be performed using
just 70 kV, significantly reducing dose levels. This achievement has
been made possible by Siemens' development of its Straton tube,
enabling it to produce this low voltage. This is yet another
technical innovation from Siemens for actively reducing radiation