Following the introduction of the first-ever dual-source CT system, Somatom Definition, with two X-ray tubes that simultaneously generate different energies, Siemens Healthcare has developed ten dual-energy applications. At the 10th Annual International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT in Las Vegas to be held from May 13 to 16, 2008, Siemens will present its Optimum Contrast software, which brings new levels of contrast to sectional images created with dual-energy applications. Thanks to these innovations, dual-energy applications, which were previously reserved for special clinical investigations, can be now be used in a broad range of routine examinations that involve contrast medium.
Until now, radiologists performing examinations with contrast medium had to decide whether they wanted to see more contrast or less image noise in the final images. While images taken at lower voltages of approx. 80 kV (kilovolt) resulted in a higher resolution of the displayed vessels due to the significantly increased iodine contrast, these images always featured a higher level of image noise. In comparison, images taken at a voltage of 140 kV are more suitable to differentiate soft tissue and image noise tends to be minor.
Thanks to the Optimum Contrast software of Siemens, CT systems can now, for the first time ever, combine the advantages of low and high voltage values of 80 and 140 kV in every image. Optimum Contrast is made possible by the use of two X-ray tubes that are capable of generating different voltages simultaneously. In addition, the software contains newly developed image optimization algorithms, which analyze the 3D data and determine the optimal mix of high and low voltage benefits for every image voxel to combine the best of both worlds in multi-contrast images. This makes soft tissue and vascular structures containing contrast medium more recognizable than ever.
"We at Siemens see a vast potential for Dual Energy imaging combined with tools such as Optimum Contrast to provide a dimension of contrast in CT, improving diagnostic outcomes and simplifying complex workflows," says André Hartung, Vice President Marketing and Sales, Business Unit Computed Tomography, Siemens Healthcare. "Optimum Contrast adds the benefits of dual-energy imaging to routine CT scans and optimizes the image quality of all contrast medium examinations."
In addition to its new Optimum Contrast software, Siemens will also present four recently introduced dual-energy applications at this year's 10th Annual International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT:
Dual-Energy Applications for Somatom Definition from Siemens
One of the new Dual Energy applications for the Somatom Definition from Siemens is syngo DE Heart PBV (Perfusion Blood Volume), which provides color-marking of non-perfused parts of the myocardium during cardiological examinations. Moreover, a specific application allows for the isolated display of the heart, for example without thoracic structures. Heart perfusion is examined primarily after an infarction to determine damaged areas of the organ. DE CT for the first time allows for detecting the presence and level of stenosis as well as the location and extent of the resulting reduced perfusion in the myocardium in a single scan.
Deposits of uric acid crystals in the joints of gout patients may damage the cartilaginous and osseous substance, particularly if the disease has been chronic for several years. With syngo DE Gout, computed tomography can for the first time be used to detect gout. The new DE application assists physicians in clearly identifying uric acid crystals in the extremities and monitoring changes in the crystals in the course of treatment.
syngo DE Lung Vessels provides a whole series of new applications to assist physicians in CT examinations of patients with suspected pulmonary embolism – a sudden occlusion of blood vessels in the lungs. The new applications allow for detecting non-perfused pulmonary blood vessels and tissue through color-marking. The application "Lung Isolation" isolates the entire organ to assess the perfusion situation without obstructing adjacent organs.
syngo DE Brain Hemorrhage assists in the distinction between new and old hemorrhages in the event of cerebral bleeding. The two energy levels of the X-ray tubes are used to fade out the contrast medium. In the past, this had required two scans. The CM subtraction offers two advantages: A non-CM enhanced examination is no longer necessary, and the patient is spared the radiation dose of a second scan.