Diagnostic imaging  

CT image of heart captured in five beats

15 November 2005

Dallas, Texas, USA. A clinical study conducted at the at Centre Cardiologique de Nord (CCN) in Saint-Denis, France has shown that the LightSpeed VCT, GE's ground-breaking volume computed tomography (CT) scanner, is capable of capturing images of the human heart in as few as five beats. The study findings were announced at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas last week.

The clinical case study data, collected by Dr. Jean-Louis Sablayrolles, head of CT Cardiac Imaging Radiology at Centre Cardiologique de Nord (CCN) in Saint-Denis, France, shows the LightSpeed VCT's ability to scan the heart in five heart beats is a critical tool to help physicians improve the success rate of coronary CT imaging when compared with scan durations of 10 seconds or longer.(1)

As a result, physicians are able to get clear images of a broader patient population than typical scans done by non-volume CT systems, according to Sablayrolles.

"This medical achievement in cardiac diagnosis is improving the standard of care for even those patients who previously were unable to undergo a non-invasive diagnosis because of poor breath hold," said Sablayrolles. "The extreme speed and enhanced image quality of the LightSpeed VCT are enabling doctors at CCN to scan patients in the shortest amount of time possible while obtaining remarkable cardiac images."

"After five seconds, the heart rate starts to increase due to hypoxia (breath hold), which is why GE's five beat technology is so vital to helping to obtain the images to diagnose a very broad patient population," said Sablayrolles.

Other clinical researchers also say they are experiencing significant benefits and improving cardiac imaging with the 5-Beat Cardiac application of the LightSpeed VCT.

"For the first time, using GE's LightSpeed VCT images, physicians are able to non-invasively diagnose heart disease in at-risk patients, including patients who we were unable to scan previously due to either rapid heart beat or because they were unable to hold their breath long enough," said Dr. Stanley Katz, chief, cardiology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY.

"The GE LightSpeed VCT allows acquisition of cardiac images in a very short span of time. This extremely fast acquisition reduces the chance for artifact which would occur from patient movement, beat-to-beat heart rate variability, and breathing," said Dr. Jeffrey Schussler of Baylor University Medical Center's Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas.

Further clinical studies

GE also announced today that the company is partnering with more than 20 clinical collaborators to focus on large, in-depth research studies to further examine the benefits of cardiac CT. These academic institutions include the Medical College of Wisconsin; North Shore University Hospital; Cardiology Associates of Alabama; University of California Los Angeles -- Harbor; Baylor University Hospital; and Cornell University Hospital.

Over the course of a year, patients participating in these studies will have both an angiogram and a LightSpeed VCT scan so that physicians can compare the images. The results of the study will guide clinicians in the use of the LightSpeed VCT as a stand-alone diagnostic tool and may also help in the diagnostic evaluation of emergency patients.

"Catheterizations are an invasive test. With the LightSpeed VCT, we now offer a less invasive alternative that is changing the way we diagnose coronary artery disease," said Dr. David Marks, associate professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Additionally, a controlled clinical study underway at Children's Hospital and Health System in San Diego to assess the clinical performance of the LightSpeed VCT for infants with heart defects. The study will compare the accuracy of the LightSpeed VCT with the more invasive cardiac catheterization techniques on children born with congenital defects of the heart and major vessels.

"Having access to GE's LightSpeed VCT will revolutionize the way we scan and diagnose our pediatric patients," said Meg Norton, chief operating officer of Children's Hospital and Health Center. "This cutting edge technology is a great benefit to sick children and their families who are in need of a quick, fast, accurate and, most important, less invasive diagnostic assessment."

About the LightSpeed VCT

The LightSpeed VCT is able to noninvasively capture the image of any organ in one second, perform a whole body trauma scan in fewer than 10 seconds, and capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in as few as five heartbeats -- something no other CT system can offer. In a single rotation, the system creates 64 credit-card-thin images, totaling 40 millimeters of anatomical coverage. These images are combined to form a three-dimensional view of the patient's anatomy for the physician to analyze.

According to Laura King, global vice president of the Interventional, Cardiology and Surgery business at GE Healthcare, the LightSpeed VCT's 5-Beat Cardiac application was specifically designed to provide more coverage and fewer rotations for better resolution, coverage, speed and power.

"GE listened to luminary cardiologists and customers who told us that imaging the heart in five or fewer beats was an urgent clinical need," said King. "The LightSpeed VCT is the only technology capable of 5-Beat Cardiac, and GE is the only company to build our technology for physicians, based on their clinical needs, from the ground up."

The LightSpeed VCT has the capability to attain 43-millisecond temporal resolution, which means physicians can effectively freeze the motion of the heart in a scan and secure extremely high-quality images of coronary arteries at submillimeter. This capability can make diagnostic evaluation of arterial stenosis faster and less invasive than catheter angiography.

GE Healthcare has identified opportunities for new and improved diagnostic cardiac applications for the LightSpeed VCT, based on its coverage, speed and resolution capabilities:

  • 5-Beat Cardiac — A comprehensive view of the heart and coronary arteries with submillimeter resolution in five heart beats. This coverage helps reduce beat-to-beat variability, resulting in more robust, repeatable procedures, as well as greater vessel visualization and shorter breath holds for sick patients.
  • Triple RuleOut(TM) — The ability to help clinicians rule out (or in) the three most life-threatening critical conditions in chest pain in one single scan: aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism and coronary artery disease.

(1) JL Sablayrolles et al. Wide Coverage by Volume CT: Benefits for Cardiac Imaging. Proceedings of SPIE, Physics of Medical Imaging 2005, vol. 5745-39.

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