Dose management at the modality

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You asked and they listened: Vendors introduced a number of radiation dose advances and strategies this year. A major area of concern is CT and Siemens addressed this with a new software package recently cleared by the FDA called Safire, an image-based iterative reconstruction solution that enables the reduction of dose by 60%, that is automated from the user interface, says Jakub Mochen, Siemens CT. They've also fiddled with their detector technology to produce a new detector called Stellar: "We always had good ceramics, but we made advances in our electronics so that we are able to lower the dose necessary to produce good images," he adds.

When Toshiba's newest version of its AIDR (adaptive iterative dose reduction) software is available, it will be installed for free at the vendor's expense in all 200 installations of Aquilion One, Prime, and Premium CT scanners. Currently pending 510 FDA clearance, AIDR is automated and integrated and not operator dependent. According to Joseph Cooper, Toshiba CT, the tool is fast as well, reconstructing 30 images per second. "It will offer significant dose reduction for all clinical applications and excellent image quality," he says.

Even Toshiba's new Aplio 500 ultrasound introduction had a dose angle: Obviously US does not use ionizing radiation, but the new Smart Fusion application, which offers a simple and automated method to fuse ultrasound with CT right onboard the system has the potential to eliminate CT biopsy.

At Philips, considerable excitement surrounded the acquisition of the MicroDose technology and the ability to offer customers a digital mammography solution that provides outstanding image quality and a reduced radiation dose. Kim Holttum, Philips women's imaging, used an LED metaphor do describe the photon-counting technology: "Think of the LED, it provides a crisp light with very little energy." Holttum says the technology is Philips' answer to hospital C-suite pleas to provide a point of differentiation among the all-important female health care decision-maker.

At FUJIFILM, it was as if Roentgen had just imaged his wife's left hand, the enthusgreat was so great for an entirely new line of digital radiography equipment, much of it featuring the company's irradiated side sampling detector technology that positions the TFT layer on the top of the detector, enabling a reduction in the amount of dose required for a diagnostic quality image, says Randy Nagel, FUJIFILM. The detectors are available in the portable machines, the full rooms, and a nifty new wireless portable DR detector. It comes in a carrying case slightly larger than a laptop bag and can be used to upgrade any analog portable or xray room to digital. Called FDR Flex, it's also known around the booth as "DR in a bag."

"Most hospitals have dozens of analog units," says Nagel. "Instead of mothballing them, they can take the analog units and make them digital." Nagel says that the growing dose-consciousness was behind the company's transition away from CR to DR: "This is where imaging is going. People want the productivity and dose reduction that dr can provide."