As a Nuclear Radiologist, I consider nuking is a good thing.
I think GE finally decided to listen to me. I have whined in the past about their Hawkeye’s lack of diagnostic CT capability, in spite of all their efforts to convince me that it didn’t matter. GE appears to now believe me, at least in the realm of cardiac SPECT/CT.
GE announced the Discovery NM/CT 570c last March, at the ACC meeting. The machine is geared toward cardiology, but it contains some significant advances that will apply to other realms.
First, GE finally saw the light, and attached a 64-slice Lightspeed VCT to the Discovery. This is a miracle in and of itself, and allows for high-end cardiac CT applicatons such as Calcium Scoring and CTA as well as CT-based attenuation correction. And did I mention that this will yield diagnostic CT images??
The potentially-revolutionary part of the 570c involves something called “Alcyone” technology. From Medicalphysicsweb.org,
Alcyone technology brings together a breakthrough design based on combining CZT detectors, focused pin-hole collimation, stationary data acquisition and 3D reconstruction, to improve workflow, dose management, and overall image quality. Unlike conventional nuclear imaging, all views are acquired simultaneously during a fully stationary SPECT acquisition, eliminating equipment movement during the scan and reducing the risk of motion artifacts. CZT detectors directly convert gamma rays into digital signals, eliminating the need for photomultiplier tubes, but maintaining high stopping power to deliver improved energy, spatial and temporal resolution.
It’s sort of ironic that Philips took the alternative approach of solid-state CT detectors for their Brightview XCT scanner.
Notice that the GE Discovery has the CZT detectors mounted at 90 degrees from each other, optimal for cardiac work, but not for other applications.
My sources tell me that this will be remedied within the next month or so, when GE will introduce a general nuclear medicine (or maybe oncology?) version of the Discovery. Maybe they’ll call it the 570d (for Dalai, of course) or more likely simply the 570. This will be worthy of a look, as a direct competitor to my longtime favorite, the Siemens Symbia.
The Discovery NM/CT 570c is presently installed only at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel and at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. I would be honored to have a look at either facility. I do wonder where the first non-cardiac version will be placed. . .