A new technology platform helps clinicians to perform CT scans faster and more efficiently while reducing the radiation dose.
The FAST CARE applications from Siemens Healthcare simplify workflows during scanning and image reconstruction. The system automates operating procedures, suggests parameter settings for image quality and dose level and standardises processes, reducing the doses and examination times.
CT scanners in the Somatom Definition product family that are already on the market can be upgraded to the FAST CARE platform, which will be available on Somatom Definition AS scanners in March 2011 and on Somatom Definition Flash scanners in May 2011.
The system's name comes from the two needs in CT delivery that it addresses: Fully Assisting Scanner Technologies (FAST) support process optimisation and Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure (CARE) assistance with dose reduction.
The FAST applications simplify and automate CT procedures by supporting doctors and radiologists throughout the process. The anatomy of the patient is automatically taken into account. The applications include FAST Cardio Wizard for cardiac examinations and FAST Spine for spine reconstructions. The support can save significant amounts of time, particularly with emergency patients, and increase the safety of interventions.
The new CARE applications for dose reduction include CARE Profile, which automatically displays the dose distribution for the planned examination; and CARE Dashboard, which displays the activated dose reduction functions so the operator can further optimise the scan processes.
An important innovation within this platform is CARE kV, which suggests the correct tube voltage depending on the patient's anatomy and automatically adjusts other parameters to suit the selected voltage. This improves image contrast, allowing dose reduction by up to 60%. As a result, paediatric CT examinations - normally requiring 80 to 140kV - can be performed with CARE using only 70kV.
"The key innovation of our new FAST CARE platform is that for the first time, dose-reducing and process-optimising functions are operating in tandem," said Dr. Sami Atiya, CEO, Computed Tomography at Siemens Healthcare. "This reflects our aspiration to help our customers to increase their productivity in the clinical environment while ensuring optimal patient care."