Kathleen M. Dallessio
At the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) meeting held in
Vienna, March 711, the Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY)
exhibited several new products including a long-length X-ray
system, two new computed radiology (CR) products, a dry laser
imager, a digital radiography (DR) system, and an upgraded version
of their PACS system. Recently, Chris Varian, Marketing Manager for
Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Russia, provided
with an overview of the products featured at the ECR.
CR Long-Length Imaging System
The newly released CR Long-Length Imaging System was designed to
provide seamless images of up to 129 cm of body length for use in
patients with scoliosis and for other orthopedic imaging
indications, such as leg-length discrepancy. The system includes a
wall-mounted vertical cassette holder that holds up to four
long-length cassettes at once (Figure 1) and proprietary image
stitching software. Each long-length cassette has a unique "key"
that allows it to be inserted into the holder in only the proper
position. Images can then be captured using two, three, or four
cassettes, as required by the specific study. Following exposure,
the automatic stitching software delivers images up to 43 * 129 cm
that can be viewed in both soft copy and hard copy formats.
"You can put up to four CR plates into this system," explained
Varian, "then you pop it into either the CR 800 or 900 or the newly
developed 850 or 950. There are four individual cassettes, and they
are developed in the system one after the other--you put them in as
you would normally in the CR reader--they are read and then
stitched together with our software."
For soft copy reading, the user can view all the images
individually or stitched together into a single image. For hard
copy reading, the user can print full-size films of each individual
image or a miniature of the full image. "You can print it real
size, each image one by one," Varian said. "Then you can take a
miniature printed on one film and get the whole image
Available options include a DirectView software package for the
CR 800/900 system that allows users with DryView laser imager to
print a true-size segment from any point within the composite
long-length image and to print up to four true-size segments. A 43
* 129 cm grid designed specifically for the long-length cassette
holder is also available. The system includes DirectView PTS
software, and the DirectView EVP software is available as an
option. Varian explained, "The PTS is our standard image processing
and EVP increases latitude, reducing contrast at the low-frequency
areas of the image while enhancing the high-frequency areas."
CR product line
The company also previewed the latest additions to their
DirectView CR product line: the single-cassette CR 850 (Figure 2)
and the multicassette CR 950.
"The 850 is our fast single-cassette CR system that processes
more than 100 cassettes an hour," said Varian. With its all-in-one
design and small footprint (63 * 73 cm), the CR 850 was designed
for use in areas with limited floor space. "Some people prefer to
have more CR systems closer to the examination rooms, depending on
the amount of space they have," noted Varian, "and this is where
the 850 would be key. It could be placed in the emergency room or
the intensive care unit where you have limited space; it can also
be used in high-productivity areas outside or inside individual
"The CR 950 is the big brother of the 850," said Varian. "It has
the same technology but it's a multicassette system." This system
can process up to 81 plates (35 * 43 cm) per hour and allows the
user to load eight cassettes at a time. The system also provides
local storage of up to 2000 images.
"We introduced the 950 because some people prefer to have a
central processing area for their CRs," said Varian. "We can use
the example of a cervical spine study performed on the long-length
imaging cassette, and there are four large plates to develop. When
the technologist arrives from doing one multicassette exam, rather
than having to wait and put each cassette individually into the
system, they can be placed on top of the system and the system will
automatically put those plates in and read them."
Both systems feature a new 15-inch flat-panel screen and a
barcode reader for patient/cassette identification. Both support
the new CR Long-Length Imaging System and the use of Kodak
DirectView remote operations panels (ROPs). The ROPs allow
patient/cassette identification, image review, and image
distribution steps to be performed in the examination room. Kodak
DirectView EVP software is available as an option. These systems
are expected to be available late in the second quarter of
"The DryView 8900 is our new dry laser imaging platform," noted
Varian. "It is high resolution--650 dpi across all film sizes--and
can output approximately 180 films an hour."
The system has 3 film drawers that hold a total of 5 film sizes
with a maximum size of 35 * 43 cm. "If CR and DR are used within a
department and mixed with some cross-sectional imaging, you can get
all of your imaging needs from this one imager," said Varian.
The DryView 8900 is expected to be available in the second half
of this year.
The company also highlighted the latest version of its digital
radiography system for the direct digital capture of images. "DR
5100 is our new fast, chest upright system," said Varian. "It's a
second-generation system; it's built on the DR 5000 system, which
has been out for some time now."
The system includes an integrated touch-screen operator console;
a new generator, bucky and tube stand; and Kodak DirectView PTS
software; the EVP software is available as an option.
PACS System 5
Kodak also previewed their latest PACS system, the DirectView
PACS System 5, which was designed to support the new DirectView Web
The new centralized database supports a flexible configuration
of storage components. The scalable system can work as a
single-server solution or across multiple platform hosts. "We have
an HL-7 interface engine that is built into the system," Varian
noted. "It's a software module that allows access to radiology
reports and information, so it can be integrated into an enterprise
"We can push data to a site and we can also pull data from a
site onto our workstation," explained Varian. "So you can actually
push the data there ahead of time or you can pull it to the site
when you get there."
Varian continued, "We also have a distribution suite that allows
secure e-mail out from the system and CD printing for distribution
to clinicians or patients. They can be then put into another PACS
system. I think this is relatively uncommon for a Web distribution
system. A lot of people can print CDs, but not from a Web site. Of
course, the secure e-mail distribution is a major feature of the
"Also embedded in the secure e-mail is the ability to pull
images to a station if the user wishes. So, the clinician can have
the report and perhaps six key images of an MR study delivered to
him," said Varian. "He can also pull the other images up, if he
needs to, but he doesn't need to have that overhead to start with
if he doesn't need it. If he wants it, he will have a full view of
the global data on the database from that client, should he need
it. It's all embedded with full HIPAA security."
The system supports clinical review on dual-monitor,
high-resolution workstations; provides both lossless and lossy
(wavelet) compression; and supports Macintosh and PC platforms
using an Internet Explorer or Netscape browser.
The system is currently undergoing beta testing; full commercial
launch is expected at the end of the second quarter of this
"All of these digital devices are new," noted Varian, "and I
think we are demonstrating Kodak's commitment to the digital arena.
The company is positioning itself as the radiology world becomes
increasingly digitally focused and leads more and more into an
integrated hospital information system. All of the systems support
DICOM worklists, so they can be integrated into the workflow of the
radiology information system. They are all HL-7 compliant. These
nodules, as we call them, are all designed to link into the
electronic patient record and be easily integrated with the digital