Healthcare Industry News:  cardiac imaging 

Devices Radiology

 News Release - June 27, 2006

Two Leading U.S. Medical Centers Install Siemens SOMATOM Definition Computed Tomography System

World's First Dual-Source CT System Provides Leading-Edge Diagnostic Capabilities to Patients at Mayo Clinic and NYU Medical Center

MALVERN, Pa.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--June 27, 2006--Marking a major milestone in medical imaging, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and NYU Medical Center (NYUMC) in New York City are the first facilities in the U.S. to install Siemens ( SOMATOM® Definition, the world's first dual-source computed tomography (CT) system, which for the first time incorporates two X-ray sources and two detectors in a single scanner. In view of rapidly growing interest in the market, Siemens expects more than 150 installations for the Definition by the end of 2006. To date, 10 Definition scanners have been installed worldwide.

With the ability to capture data twice as fast as any existing multi-slice CT technology, the Definition can deliver motion-free cardiac images, independent of heart rate. The Definition also has power reserve and dual-energy capabilities not previously available with any other CT system, unlocking new possibilities in emergency radiology.

The first Definition scanner in the U.S. was installed at Mayo Clinic in March 2006; the second at NYUMC in April 2006. These two leading institutions are using the systems for cardiac and vascular exams, as well as research into new applications for CT imaging. Mayo Clinic has already begun research studies exploring the system's potential in using dual X-ray energies to better differentiate tissue in various parts of the body.

Scanning Without Beta Blockers Improves Workflow

Dual-source CT technology is enabling physicians at Mayo Clinic and NYUMC to perform cardiac exams on patients with heart rates of 100 beats per minute and more without the need to slow a patient's heart with beta blocker medications, as was required with previous CT systems. This has reduced patient preparation time that was needed to allow the medication to take effect, and has made advanced CT exams accessible to patients who have conditions that preclude the use of beta blockers, such as patients who have asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other conditions that affect breathing.

"In cardiac imaging, the ability to image the heart with very short exposure times is essential," said Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., associate professor, radiologic physics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. "Our current systems, which require 0.16 seconds per exposure, perform very well at lower heart rates. However, dual-source CT requires only half of that time - 0.08 seconds - and thus allows us to successfully image patients with higher heart rates."

"Siemens dual-source CT technology is another giant step forward in CT imaging," agreed Jill E. Jacobs, M.D., chief, cardiac imaging, NYUMC. "The reduced scan acquisition times and decreased need for patient preparation helps ensure quick results and speeds workflow and patient throughput. The Definition also will enable us to better evaluate patients with suspected neurologic, thoracic, abdominal/pelvic or vascular abnormalities."

Increased Speed Produces Higher Resolution in Cardiac and Obese Scans

The technology used in the Definition provides maximum performance in terms of both spatial resolution and temporal resolution.

"The improved temporal resolution of 83 milliseconds aids diagnosis of cardiac arterial pathology while allowing diagnostic imaging of cardiac structures at higher heart rates than were previously possible," said Jacobs.

According to McCollough, physicians at Mayo Clinic have been able to use the Definition's increased speed to produce sharp images of the heart in all phases of the cardiac cycle, allowing the coronary arteries to be well visualized not only when the heart is moving more slowly (diastole), but also when the heart is rapidly contracting (systole).

The Definition also overcomes the limitations often experienced when scanning obese patients with single-source CT systems. Its two X-ray sources provide physicians with increased power to obtain richly detailed images of these patients, while the system's speed limits radiation exposure. In addition, the Definition has a wide bore opening of 31 inches to ensure comfortable scanning of larger or claustrophobic patients.

"The ability to image patients with higher energy levels improves imaging of obese patients, which is an ever growing concern in view of the increased prevalence of obesity among the United States population," said Jacobs.

Research Provides Glimpse of Enhanced Capabilities

Because various X-ray energies interact differently with different tissue types, the flexibility inherent in the Siemens dual-source CT technology will enable physicians to better differentiate and isolate tissues. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have begun exploring the feasibility of using two different X-ray energies for a number of potential applications.

"Traditional CT imaging provides detailed images of anatomy, but less information about physiological function," notes McCollough. "We are seeing a broad interest from the scientific community in using the information from different energies to tell physicians more about what a material is comprised of and how it is functioning. I expect this to become an area of active CT research."

"The ability to image patients using two different X-ray energy levels has exciting potential for better isolation and characterization of neurologic, abdominal, and pelvic pathology," added Jacobs.

Ongoing research using the Definition at NYUMC will include the evaluation, quantification and characterization of coronary artery plaque; evaluation and quantification of tumor angiogenesis within the liver; and evaluation of neurologic abnormalities using carotid angiography.

Dual-Source CT Sets the Standard

"The Definition is enabling medical professionals at Mayo Clinic and NYU Medical Center to uncover new uses for CT technology while delivering unmatched diagnostic capabilities to physicians and their patients," said Bernd Montag, president, CT Division, Siemens Medical Solutions. "We are pleased that the top institutions in the U.S. are implementing this technology. This demonstrates the continued success of our process for bringing innovative technologies to market following close collaboration with our customers."

The next U.S. installations of the SOMATOM Definition are under way at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich., and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio.

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG (NYSE:SI ) with headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Erlangen, Germany, is one of the largest suppliers to the healthcare industry in the world. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes. Employing approximately 33,000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7.6 billion EUR, orders of 8.6 billion EUR and group profit of 976 million EUR for fiscal 2005. More information can be obtained by visiting

Source: Siemens Medical Solutions

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