Digital X-ray, also known as digital radiography (DR), is a
rapidly evolving technology. It is currently in use across a
spectrum of clinical applications, employing a variety of imaging
techniques, with new applications continually being explored. Two
manufacturers plan to introduce new DR systems-one modular, one
portable-in the coming months. The following is a brief
Kodak to offer modular DR system
The Health Imaging Group of Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester,
NY) plans to introduce a modular DR system that should be available
in the third quarter of this year. The DirectView DR 7500,
currently a work-in-progress, will offer a customizable array of
single- and dual-detector options with the use of modular
components, including a wall stand with extending tilt and swing
bucky with detector, an elevating table with detector, overhead
tube suspension, a system operator console, and an X-ray generator
and system control unit.
"The most important point is the flexibility that it has in a
variety of dimensions," said Helen Titus, Marketing Manager for
Digital Capture Products at Kodak Health Imaging. "It's flexible
for the hospital because it's scalable; therefore, the hospital can
purchase some of the components now, and then add others later. It
is also flexible for the radiologist, allowing for a range of
radiographic shots. It can be used in a single-detector
configuration with the overhead tube system and the wall stand or
with the overhead tube and the table, or with both in a
The wall stand unit will allow for upright, horizontal, and
cross-table projections with 3-axis movement to accommodate
rotation (between portrait and landscape), tilt (-20˚ to 90˚), and
swing (±45˚). The retractable bucky will allow for wheelchair and
table projections, and the detector will automatically follow the
overhead tube to maintain accurate alignment.
The elevating table with detector will feature 4-way float and
will allow the bucky to be pulled out to accommodate extremity
examinations. The overhead tube suspension will feature in-room
access to detector selection and synchronization through a display
keypad. An LCD screen with self-righting data will show patient
data and radiographic techniques. An optional motorized overhead
tube will also be available.
The operator console will control all the system's functions,
including the X-ray generator, detector array adjustment, and
patient data through connectivity with the hospital information
system (HIS) and the radiology information system (RIS). The
console features a multilingual touch-screen user interface.
Additional options expected to be available with this system
include motorization and synchronization with push-button control
to enable auto-centering and auto-perpendicularity between the
detector and the X-ray source, as well as the ability to preprogram
settings to allow the equipment to automatically move into
"With auto-positioning you can teach the unit to remember
various positions depending on which examination you are doing,"
explained Titus. "Then, when that exam comes up again, you can
program it using the auto-position feature."
According to Titus, these options can be included at the time of
purchase or added as upgrades at a later date.
A variety of software programs will be compatible with the new
system, including Kodak's DICOM Worklist Management Service Class
User software for connectivity with the HIS/RIS system, the
DirectView EVP software that extends image latitude, and the
DirectView Capture Link System that provides the ability to link up
to 5 DirectView DR or computed radiography (CR) systems
"The Capture Link System allows the user to add CR images to the
DR study and, in a way, merges the two modalities," explained
Titus. "We are finding that it is very beneficial since there are
still certain shots that radiologists are more comfortable with
obtaining as CR images, and this allows them to have more
GE to introduce mobile DR system
GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, UK) is preparing to launch
the first digital version of its AMX mobile radiography system. The
AMX-5D was previewed at RSNA 2004 and is expected to be
commercially available by the end of this year.
"The AMX 5D-the D is for digital-will incorporate the same flat
panel that GE has been using in its other products," said Carson
Thomas, Product Manager for Digital Radiography at GE Healthcare.
"It is a 41-× 41-cm (16-× 16-in) panel; the same size that we use
in our XRD room, only this unit is portable."
"The system will have a brand new user interface since there
hasn't really been a user interface before because there was no
software, per se, to run the system," continued Thomas. "This new
interface is actually a shared user interface from our general
radiography room, so if users are familiar with one, they will have
an easy time learning the new system. It has the same screen, just
a miniaturized, 'rugged-ized' version of the AMX."
The system is battery-operated and the detector panel weighs 12
lbs. The system also includes a 15-inch portable touchscreen
The AMX-5D can store up to 2500 16-MB images within the system
and includes a factory-installed Techswitch that allows the
technologist to initiate exposure from up to 36 feet away.
The company predicts that this unit will have broad applications
across a variety of hospital settings. "We probably have >10,000
analog AMX units in the field today," said Thomas. "It, obviously,
has very broad applications, but then you have to look at who is
ready and willing to go to a digital mobile technology. When you
look at the trends in PACS and the digital world, you see that this
is one of the last pieces that needs to go digital in order to have
a fully digital solution and get away from the other