The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) held its 90th Scientiﬁc Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, November 28 through December 3, 2004. Nearly 59,000 people attended the gathering, including more than 26,400 imaging professionals. The meeting offered more than 2000 scientiﬁc presentations and poster papers. In addition, more than 600 companies displayed products in the technical exhibit area. The following highlights just a few of the new products shown at RSNA 2004.
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) held its 90
Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, November 28
through December 3, 2004. Nearly 59,000 people attended the
gathering, including more than 26,400 imaging professionals. The
meeting offered more than 2000 scientific presentations and poster
papers. In addition, more than 600 companies displayed products in
the technical exhibit area. The following highlights just a few of
the new products shown at RSNA 2004.
Toshiba America Medical Systems
Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. (Tustin, CA) featured a
variety of new products in a range of imaging modalities. From its
magnetic resonance (MR) imaging line, Toshiba highlighted
enhancements made recently to two of its products: new gradient
packages for the Excelart Vantage 1.5T system (Figure 1) and
Version 5.0 software for the Ultra open-MRI system. The new
gradient packages, the Vantage MGV and the work-in-progress ZGV,
feature gradient strengths of 30 mT/m and 33 mT/m (milliTesla per
meter) and slew rates of 86 mT/m/sec and 200 mT/m/sec (milli-Tesla
per meter per second), respectively.
This Excelart Vantage system is capable of performing a variety
of advanced MR imaging applications when equipped with optional
packages for cardiac imaging, advanced echoplanar imaging (EPI),
perfusion and diffusion imaging, peripheral MR angiography (MRA),
and SuperFASE (fast advanced spin echo) imaging.
The system also features the company's proprietary Pianissimo
technology for acoustic noise reduction and SPEEDER parallel
processing for increased imaging acquisition speed and reduced
The Version 5.0 software for the Ultra open-MRI system includes
advanced MRI pulse sequences for added clinical versatility and
faster scan times. The system features an amplitude of 25 mT/m and
a slew rate of 100 mT/m/sec. According to the company, this slew
rate allows the system's gradient speed to be nearly 5 times faster
than current open systems and 250% greater than its high-field
(1.0T to 1.5T cylindrical) counterparts.
With the new Version 5.0 software package, the Ultra can perform
a variety of MRI pulse sequences, including: SuperFASE,
steady-state 2 echoes (SS2E) for high-contrast imaging,
steady-state T2 (SST2) for conducting heavily weighted T2 images,
sliding slab for enhanced three-dimensional (3D) time-of-flight
(TOF) brain MR angiography images, variable no phase wrap (NPW),
line scan diffusion to complement sin-gle-shot echoplanar imaging
(SS-EPI), and swirl encoding to reduce flow and motion
The company also used RSNA 2004 to introduce the Aplio xV
high-performance ultrasound system and the addition of
4-dimensional (4D) imaging technology to its Nemio compact system.
According to the company, the Aplio xV features "next-generation
tissue Doppler and contrast imaging technology based on Toshiba's
Intelligent Component Architecture (ICA) to allow faster processing
of more complex data" for improved image quality and
Designed for small hospitals and physicians' offices, the Nemio
(Figure 2) is now capable of performing simultaneous display of
real-time 2dimensional (2D) images and continuously updating 3D
volumes. Additional enhancements include: Tissue Harmonic Imaging
(THI); Quad Signal Processing (QSP), which provides 4 times more
data per transmission signal; Directional Color Angio that combines
color angiography with directional flow data; and multifrequency
transducers including convex, linear, and sector transducer
The system also features optional software packages designed
specifically for the clinical requirements of a particular imaging
marketing segment. The radiology package features trapezoid
imaging; an extended-field-of-view mode; a differential THI option
to provide increased resolution at depth to assess tumors, lesions,
cysts, and normal tissue with maximum penetration; a Quick Scan
option for one-touch image optimization; and the ApliPure option
for real-time spatial and frequency compounding. The system also
features a new flat-screen display for enhanced imaging uniformity
In the area of computed tomography (CT), Toshiba announced the
approval of the SUREPlaque cardiac visualization software. Designed
for the Aquilion CFX line of scanners, this new software can be
used to identify and quantify soft plaque for cardiac and
peripheral vessel analysis using a color-coding system based on
The company also displayed, as a work-in-progress, a new
large-bore CT scanner designed specifically for oncology. The
Aquilion LB features a 90-cm bore with an 85-cm display
field-of-view and a 70-cm acquired field-of-view. The system's
Quantum multirow CT detector provides image slice thickness of 0.5
mm. According to the company, the detector's highly efficient
ceramic material provides low noise and high dose efficiency. The
company hopes to have this system available in the third quarter of
Lodox Systems North America
Lodox Systems North America (South Lyon, MI) featured its new
Rad-MP system upgrade for the Statscan Critical Imaging System.
Designed for use in emergency and trauma medicine, the Statscan
system is capable of performing a whole-body X-ray examination in
approximately 13 seconds. Once acquired, the images can be
displayed, magnified, and rotated almost immediately at a viewing
The new upgrade consists of a 20-× 28-inch (50-× 71-cm)
radiolucent imaging table and a hydraulic patient imaging chair and
platform. The imaging table can be used in both horizontal and
vertical planes, and the adjustable hydraulic chair and platform
can accommodate both seated and standing patients for upper-body,
extremity, or erect chest/abdominal imaging, as well as for
weight-bearing spine and joint procedures.
The Rad-MP system upgrade can be purchased as an option to the
standard configuration on new Statscan systems or added to Statscan
systems already in clinical use.
Confirma (Kirkland, WA) previewed two works-in-progress at RSNA
2004: the new Access Breast Coil and the latest version of
The Access Breast Coil is a 7-channel phased-array coil designed
for both conventional imaging and interventional procedures (Figure
3). Optimized for parallel imaging of the chest wall, breast, and
axillary tissue, it supports both bilateral and unilateral
For interventional procedures, the coil's design allows for
lateral, medial, and craniocaudal access, and it supports all
needle-gauge sizes and vacuum-assisted biopsy systems. In addition,
the coil has an integrated lighting system for illumination during
interventional procedures. The ergonomic design was modeled after
stereotactic biopsy tables with positioning accessories that
include a headrest, armrest, and torso pad to relieve pressure on
the sternum. The company expects to have the Access Breast Coil on
the market in the first quarter of 2005.
Confirma also previewed the latest version of its computer-aided
detection (CAD) system for breast MR imaging, CADstream, at this
year's meeting. The new version incorporates the American College
of Radiology (ACR) BI-RADS Atlas for lesion classification. The
system also has a multimodality-ready configuration, offering users
the ability to access, view, and reference mammography and
ultrasound studies while interpreting breast MRI with CADstream.
The system's additional new features include automated summaries
with size, classification, and location for tumor volume of
interest, and AngioMap overlays.
Zonare Medical Systems
Also at RSNA 2004, Zonare Medical Systems, Inc, (Mountain View,
CA) introduced the z.one convertible ultrasound system based on the
Zone Sonography platform.
The Zone Sonography platform employs a new approach to
ultrasound data acquisition and image formation. According to the
company, this technology allows for the acquisition of data in
relatively few large zones rather than many narrow lines used in
traditional systems, allowing for more rapid image storage,
processing, and display. Unlike conventional ultrasound systems in
which each line is formed by summing together the contributions of
all the channels in the transducer and discarding the channel data
as soon as each line is formed, Zone Sonography aggregates the
original channel data and stores it in Channel Domain Memory. All
of the echo information is then utilized in Channel Domain
Processing to form the image and to provide greater options for
image postprocessing by retaining all of the original raw data.
This new method of data acquisition is used in the company's new
z.one convertible ultrasound system, a full-featured cart system
that can quickly convert into a compact, portable system that works
like a conventional system (Figure 4).
The z.one system consists of a full-featured cart-based system
and a compact system. The cart system includes an adjustable height
cart, advanced LCD display, and a backlit keyboard and a full user
interface similar to that on a conventional ultrasound system.
The convertible scan engine is contained in a self-enclosed,
6-lb compact unit that can be removed from the cart and transported
to the patient. Full functionality is available in both
configurations, including advanced imaging and multiple
simultaneous modes. The company expects the system to be
commercially available in early 2005.
DynaWell Int. AB (Billdal, Sweden) featured its L-Spine
compression device for CT and MR imaging. The device was designed
to simulate the axial compression that occurs on a patient's lumbar
spine when standing in order to aid the clinician in detecting
abnormalities that might not be visible when the spine is relaxed
in the supine position.
In clinical use, the patient wears the DynaWell L-Spine vest
over his or her shoulders and upper chest with the feet placed
against the footplate of the compression device (Figure 5). The
straps on the vest are tightened over the patient's chest and two
adjustable cords on opposite sides of the vest are attached to the
compression device. By tightening the cords to a desired measured
load (up to 50% of body weight), the clinician is able to compress
the spinal cord in a way that the manufacturer states is similar to
that of upright posture. In addition, it helps the patients remain
motionless and distributes the pressure across the chest rather
than the shoulders.
According to the company, this noninvasive device can be used
with nearly all CT and MR systems and is most useful in patients
with neurogenic claudication, sciatica, and long-standing,
unexplained lower back pain.
Agfa (Mortsel, Belgium) also featured a variety of products at
RSNA 2004. One highlight for the company was the launch of their
new multimodality mammography diagnostic workstation, the IMPAX
This system, developed based on the company's picture archiving
and communication system (PACS) model of information management,
allows the user to access all digital breast images as well as all
other general imaging studies, regardless of the modality used to
acquire them, all on a single workstation.
The workstation comes with full integration capability with
PACS, radiology information systems (RIS) and hospital information
systems (HIS), and reporting applications. When part of a PACS
network, images can be retrieved and reviewed from anywhere on the
In addition, Agfa announced the release of the latest version of
its voice recognition technology, TalkStation 3.0. The new version
incorporates several workflow and user interface enhancements, as
well as the Dragon Naturally-Speaking v7 medical speech engine from
ScanSoft, Inc. (Peabody, MA).
TalkStation 3.0 also features: Correctionist Capabilities,
enabling real-time speech recognition with on-the-fly deferral to a
transcription editor; TeleDictation, for dictating via telephone;
Auto Macros, for additional workflow customization; Enterprise
Gateway for increased interface flexibility; and several security
The company also introduced two new computed radiography (CR)
digitizers: the CR 75.0, a high-throughput CR system for
centralized CR environments, and CR 25.0, a multiapplication
digitizer for a decentralized environment (Figure 6).
According to the company, the CR 75.0 is a high-speed multiuser
digitizer, which features a drop-and-go buffer designed to
eliminate waiting times and allow for a continuous workflow.
The company calls the CR 25.0 a fast, highly versatile,
small-footprint digitizer. Designed to complement existing
centralized CR systems, the CR 25.0 can be used inside the X-ray
room and is suitable for a mobile environment as well.
A fully integrated CR User Station is available for both CR 75.0
and CR 25.0 digitizers. Both systems also offer 3 different
resolution modes with a standard resolution of 6 pixels/mm that can
be increased to 10 pixels/mm and a maximum resolution of 20
pixels/mm available for specific applications.
"This new technology platform allows us to provide increased,
homogeneous application range throughout the entire Agfa range of
CR systems, to tailor specific CR solutions to different and new
imaging environments, and to address the increasing needs to be
closer to the patient point of care," said Iskandar Accaoui,
Business Manager Digital Radiography Solutions at Agfa.