Smart Photons and Dose-Reducing Software Among Drivers of CT System Market

Smart Photons and Dose-Reducing Software Among Drivers of CT System Market

 While they are essential to healthcare, computed tomography systems have always had their downsides, such as their cost and the radiation dose effect on the patient.  This has made improvements CTs to reduce dosing and increase cost-effectiveness, and compete with other modalities or different types of testing.  As a result of recent innovations, CT Systems are smarter and faster. In our recent report,Computed Tomography (CT) Markets, we note the following trends:

  • 320s Proving Out: The emphasis on cutting healthcare and hospital costs is never ending. When it comes to CT and slice capability, some wonder about the need for 256- or 320-slice CT systems for such clinical applications as cardiac imaging. Some believe that a 64-slice system is good enough to make a cardiac diagnosis without spending twice as much for the higher-slice systems. However, those who adopted 256- or 320-slice systems say the quality of the images are superior and lead to better diagnoses in CT angiography. 
  • Computer Software Aids in Reducing Dose: CT exams can add to a patient’s lifetime exposure to ionizing radiation, and so dosing is an issue for the increased use fo these systems.  However, they can also be more beneficial in cases where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound might not be able to detect early-stage cancers.    To best realize the benefits, software is to the rescue.  CT systems currently feature different technologies, such as iterative reconstruction software, intraoperativity, and dose-tracking software in order to reduce the amount of emitted radiation and the number of unnecessary scans. In addition, recent studies on the use of CT on select patient populations and the modality’s benefits in detecting certain cancers are showing that the risks of CT imaging can be both good and bad.
  • Pediatrics a Growth Market: The clinical application of CT in pediatrics has increased sharply since 1996, especially for older children, but has started to decrease in the past few years. The limited evidence about the appropriateness of most CT procedures, particularly for children, makes it difficult to know how much further the rates should be reduced. Moreover, radiation doses from pediatric CT vary widely in clinical practice. This indicates that there may be an opportunity to reduce doses through standardized protocols and other processes.  Implementing these readily available dose-reduction strategies, combined with the elimination of unnecessary imaging, could dramatically reduce future radiation-induced cancers caused by CT use in pediatrics.
  • Ultra-Fast Systems: The improvement in image quality and speed, and the robustness and utility of the CT technique have increased the clinical utilization of CT. Helical scanning and multidetector row CT have led to a tremendous improvement in the speed with which 3D volume can be imaged, and much better routine spatial resolution in the slice direction.  Combined with other advances, this led a phenomenal increase in the imaging speed of CT since its introduction in the early 1970s. The growth in imaging speed is essentially exponential. The speed has increased by more than seven orders of magnitude during this period of time. This increase in speed along with improvements in low-contrast detectability and image quality has allowed the technique to be much more robust and this, in turn, has enabled CT to become main stream in medical care.    
  • Better Resolution With Smart Photons: CT systems are limited by “crosstalk” based on their use of reflectors.  Direct conversion photon counting detectors, each photon creates a number of charge carriers in the semiconductor in proportion to the energy deposited. Crosstalk between adjacent detector channels is prevented because the charge carriers produced in the semiconductor follow electric field lines. As a result, these detectors avoid the geometric inefficiencies in scintillator-photodiode detectors used in current commercial systems. They can readily achieve much better spatial resolution.
  • Portable CT units: It is likely that portable CT will become a standard of care in the next decade. Portables will continue to appear as the importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment plays into improving patients’ health outcomes and cutting health care costs. Specifically, portable head CT imaging is becoming important in facilitating the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cranial pathology. In general, bringing the modality to the patient can increase the speed and safety of imaging, which is critical, particularly for many neurologic emergencies

Kalorama's report on CT Systems can be found here: http://www.kaloramainformation.com/redirect.asp?progid=89343&productid=10559414.