Lunch date with 320-slice CT

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I just had lunch with 320-slice CT. Well, not exactly, but the fine folks at Toshiba sponsored a delicious lunch accompanied by a presentation on the use of the technology in a community hospital. Dr. Jeffrey Dardinger of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Kentucky presented on how his hospital has been using their Aquilion ONE system in the year or so since installation.

In short, they're using it everywhere. Dardinger described the system as a kind of one-stop shop for imaging. Positioned between the radiology department and the ED, it's being used constantly -- 9,000 scans in the past year, with over 95% of those being volume exams. The system offers single volume, wide volume and dynamic volume imaging. "Single volume and wide volume do things we've always done, but better," he said. "But dynamic volume imaging gives us new capabilities." Those capabilities include organ perfusion studies and true digital subtraction angiography. "The most important thing for me is that there's no 3D lab involved," Dardinger said, alluding to the system's 90-second computerized post-processing.

Dardinger also touched on what he sees as the future of CT imaging with 16 cm coverage. "It's not just imaging and looking for disease anymore," he said. "This opens up lots of new applications." Those include color-coded perfusion maps, myocardial perfusion and volume dual energy studies.

The presentation made me think back to my first Stanford MDCT in 2006. I remember the days when 320-slice was still just a works-in-progress dream. Now, in just three years, that dream has become a reality. Pretty amazing!