The 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the
Radiological Society of North America (RSNA 2003) drew nearly
59,000 people to McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from November 30 to
December 5, 2003. Of these attendees, nearly 25,500 were
professionals, including physicians, technicians, students, and
members of the press. More than 27,500 exhibitors displayed
products from more than 630 companies.
Vidar introduces new digitizer line
Vidar Systems Corporation (Herndon, VA) used RSNA 2003 to
introduce its latest generation of film digitizers. According to
the company, the new Advantage product platform was developed to
deliver improved image quality, consistency, and repeatability, as
well as increased speed and greater "up time."
Developed from the company's "plus" product line, the Advantage
platform features the company high-definition charge-coupled device
(HD-CCD) technology and Automatic Digitizer Calibration (ADC)
feature, with a new look and a modular design. The three digitizers
introduced at RSNA were the CAD PRO Advantage, the DiagnosticPRO
Advantage, and the DosimetryPRO Advantage.
The CAD PRO Advantage (Figure 1), which was designed
specifically for mammography computer-aided detection (CAD), has a
scan rate of 200 lines per second or up to 120 films per hour. It
accommodates films of 18 × 24 cm and 24 × 30 cm and includes the
company's SmartFeeder design. This feature consists of a modular
50- or 100-sheet film feeder that can load mixed-size films at any
point during the digitizing process without need for stopping the
system. The company also states that the new feeder design
eliminates film jams, double feeds, and film pick-up problems.
The DiagnosticPRO Advantage was designed for use with PACS,
teleradiology, and orthopedic surgery. At its lowest resolution (1K
× 1.25K), it is capable of digitizing a 14-× 17-inch film in 6
seconds. It has a mean time between failure (MTBF) rate of
>50,000 hours and can handle a variety of film sizes. It is also
capable of providing the high resolution (44.5 microns) required
for digitizing mammography films. It also offers larger spot size
options for digitizing general radiographic, computed tomography
(CT), magnetic resonance (MR), ultrasound, and nuclear medicine
The DosimetryPRO Advantage, designed for use in intensity
modulation radiation therapy (IMRT), features a 32-bit data path
and a 16bit grayscale. With >65,000 shades of gray and an
optical density range of 0.00 to 4.00, the company reports that the
system "provides significantly more information in the penumbral
regions. This means that dose levels to adjacent tissues can be
more accurately measured and that leaf leakages in multileaf
collimator (MLC) systems are easier to measure."
All three digitizers include the company's proprietary ADC
feature. This software package automatically calibrates the system
without user intervention before each film is digitized. Each unit
weighs 40 lbs. and measures approximately 19 × 23 × 29 inches with
the feeder and exit tray in place. The CAD PRO was designed
specifically to fit within a cart-based system.
"While exceptional image quality is paramount, our customers
continue to tell us they require maintenance-free digitizers that
fit seamlessly into radiology department workflow-improving staff
productivity rather than hindering it," said Brian Beardslee, Vice
President of Vidar's medical business.
IBM debuts storage management system and new financing
IBM Corporation (White Plains, NY) unveiled their new integrated
storage management solution at RSNA 2003. The IBM Medical Archive
Solution consists of disk and tape storage, server systems, and
storage management software that have been preconfigured for PACS.
The customizable system provides online and nearline image
management and offline archiving, with a capacity of up to 80
terabytes (Tb) of storage that can be expanded further on
The IBM TotalStorage FAStT mid-range storage servers provide up
to 32.8 Tb of online storage capacity. The available TotalStorage
EXP100 Storage Expansion Units each provide up to 2 Tb of
additional storage. The system can also be connected to the IBM
Enterprise Storage Server.
The IBM TotalStorage Linear Tape-Open system is scalable to 500
Tb and provides nearline archival storage or offline backup
storage. The com-pany's Tivoli Storage Manager automates storage
tasks and provides hierarchical storage management, migrating data
to the most cost-effective storage media on the system.
The system is powered by the IBM eServer pSeries 630 system
running UNIX and incorporates the company's POWER4+ microprocessor
and self-healing technologies to help guard against and recover
from system failure.
"With Tivoli Storage Manager, we can schedule automated,
unattended backups, which helps us maintain high availability of
critical imaging data," said Rick Faszold, Manager, Technical
Services, and PACS Project Manager, St. Anthony's Hospital, St.
Louis, MO. "We use this system as a single storage management tool
across the enterprise. Despite growing storage volumes, we've been
able to maintain current levels of personnel. For PACS, it also
helps us meet certain regulations by automating and simplifying the
movement of images from disk to tape."
nancing program available
IBM also announced an expansion of its information technology
(IT) financing business at RSNA 2003. Under the new terms of the
program, healthcare facilities and life sciences and pharmaceutical
businesses can now finance not only IBM IT purchases, but also
several other medical technology purchases through IBM Global
Working with the company's Life Sciences sales teams, IBM Global
Financing will offer vendor-neutral leasing and financing programs
to help customers acquire MRI systems, CT scanners, X-ray systems,
gamma cameras, and ultrasound devices.
"Businesses in the healthcare, life sciences, and pharmaceutical
industries now can acquire complete solutions from IBM and its
business part-ners-from the IT infrastructure they need to the
sophisticated medical technology that can provide the best care-all
with little or no up-front investment," said Peter Matthews,
General Manager, Emerging Markets Strategy & Global Asset
Recovery Services, IBM Global Financing.
IBM also announced that it has expanded its asset disposition
services to assist customers in acquiring refurbished medical
technology or to remarket their older technology.
NEC previews new display line
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display (Itasca, IL) previewed a new
line of color and grayscale LCD monitors for diagnostic
applications. The MultiSync MD series displays (Figure 2) feature
backlight technology and provide adjustable white points for
matching in multimonitor configurations. The included proprietary
GammaComp internal circuitry is a 10-bit gamma correction process
that allows the user to set custom display settings for gamma and
white point and to access self-diagnostic and calibration data. The
monitors also include a built-in calibrator, providing the ability
to generate test patterns, perform self-calibration, and store
calibration data within the internal memory.
The displays, which are expected to be available this summer,
will come in both color and grayscale models in both 2- and
3-megapixel (MP) configurations.
Philips introduces new line of multislice CT
Philips Medical Systems, a division of Royal Philips Electronics
(Best, the Netherlands), introduced its new line of multislice CT
scanners, the Brilliance CT line, featuring its new 40-slice CT
scanner, at RSNA 2003.
According to the company, the Brilliance 40 "provides clinicians
with in-depth information nearly 3 times faster than any other
multislice scanner. Its additional coverage and acquisition speed
create a new realm of clinical applications for CT, including
enhanced organ perfusion studies, coronary artery imaging,
pulmonary imaging, and critical care."
The new line also includes a new high-end 16-slice scanner, the
Brilliance 16 Power configuration, as well as new 6-slice,
10-slice, and 16-slice scanners. Each configuration is fully
upgradeable and includes the company's user interface, the
Brilliance Workspace, which was designed specifically for use with
"The challenge today in multislice CT is helping customers
leverage all the possible value," said Jim Green, President of the
Philips CT business in the United States. "The key benefit of
multislice CT is in its usefulness, not only in terms of what the
technology can do, but also how easily the systems work and produce
clinical benefits. Our approach is to work closely with our
clinical partners to help them get the most out of multislice
Vital Images introduces latest version of Vitrea 2
Vital Images, Inc. (Plymouth, MN) debuted the latest version of
its flagship Vitrea 2 software.
Vitrea 2 Version 3.4 features automated tools for examining
vasculature and improved DICOM connectivity. The new Vessel Probe
option provides one-click vessel analysis of contrast-enhanced CT
and MR imaging studies, allowing for noninvasive visualization and
assessment of obstructive vascular disease. The feature allows the
user to perform segmentation and cross-sectional imaging, as well
as curved reformatted viewing of the vessels.
The enhanced connectivity feature allows users to access the
software at multiple locations throughout the enterprise. "With our
new concurrent licensing capabilities, radiologists will now be
able to access a single Vitrea software license from their
institution's reading rooms, private offices, and other locations
within a secure local area network," said Jay D. Miller, company
President and CEO.
The latest version also includes new image compression
capabilities for reduced network bandwidth and storage requirements
and integrates the ImageChecker CT LN-500 from R2 Technology, Inc.
(Sunnyvale, CA) for lung nodule assessment.