In June, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, Mass.) became the second site in the United States to implement Siemens Medical Solutions (Iselin, N.J.) Sensation 16 CT scanner. The new scanner is an upgrade from an existing 4-slice system, and radiologists quickly adapted to the new scanner.

U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D. and research associate at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says, “The transition was actually rather smooth. We found it was much more intuitive going from four slices to 16 slices than it was going from a single slice to 4 slices. We were already used to the multi-slice concept for image acquisition, and the protocols are similar in concept.”

The new technology has proven to be an incredible boon for cardiovascular imaging. “We are trying to shift every cardiovascular protocol to Sensation 16 simply because the advantages are very striking,” Schoepf says. The primary advantages of 16-slice technology for cardiovascular imaging are enhanced resolution and increased scan speed. Faster gantry rotation is another advantage of 16-slice technology.

High spatial resolution is absolutely critical with cardiovascular imaging. The coronaries are very minute, and pathologies, such as lesions and stenoses, are exceptionally tiny. Schoepf explains, “Obviously, better spatial resolution means there is a better chance of detecting very tiny pathologies.” Spatial resolution for four-slice CT angiography is 1.3 millimeters, while spatial resolution jumps to 0.6 millimeters for a Sensation 16 scan of the coronary arterial tree.

Scan time is another key consideration for cardiovascular imaging. Acquisition speed falls from 30 to 40 seconds for 4-slice CT angiography to 20 seconds using the Sensation 16. “The increased scan speed improves contrast media dynamics, facilitates more robust applications and results in consistently good image quality,” Schoepf sums. Another plus of faster scan times? Radiologists can scan sicker patients; it is very difficult for some patients to hold their breath for 30 seconds, but 20 seconds may be more manageable for sick patients requiring a cardiovascular CT.

Please refer to the December 2002 issue for the complete story. For information on article reprints, contact Martin St. Denis