GE uses ECR as CT launch pad

2002 02 28 14 45 46 706

VIENNA - GE Medical Systems is using this week's European Congress of Radiology to launch new CT scanners throughout its product line. The systems range from an entry-level dual-slice system to the newest version of the electron beam CT system it acquired when it bought Imatron last year.

At the low end of the product line is the HiSpeed CT/e Dual, a dual-slice entry-level system that will sell for about 350,000 euros, according to Jean-Michel Malbrancq, general manager of CT for GE Medical Systems Europe. The introduction indicates that the fast-scanning benefits of multislice technology will soon be available to a much wider range of potential customers, he said.

The CT/e Dual will feature 1- or 1.5-second rotation times, with slices as thin as 0.6 mm. Commercial shipments of the system are expected to begin in June.

In the mid-range segment, GE has added a four-slice scanner to its HiSpeed product line with the HiSpeed QX/i. The QX/i will feature a 0.7-second rotation time and 0.6-mm slice thickness, and will also be available in June.

At the upper end of its mechanical CT line, GE confirmed that it will develop and ship a 16-slice version of its LightSpeed premium scanner, which first began shipping in 1998 as a four-slice system. Deliveries of the first LightSpeed 16 should begin in the third quarter of 2002, the company said.

ECR attendees are also getting the first look at GE Imatron, the South San Francisco, CA, EBT developer that GE acquired in December. As the vendor has done with other radiology acquisitions, GE is now running GE Imatron as a subsidiary company, and has named GE veteran Janet Burki as general manager and CEO. The company will remain based in California, where it has manufacturing operations and a staff of some 90 engineers.

Imatron was working on completing the newest version of its EBCT platform at the time of the acquisition, and that system is being launched at the ECR as the C300. The new system features an improved graphical user interface and automated software for imaging cardiac perfusion and wall motion, according to Jeff Sorenson, director of EBT marketing for GE Imatron.

Another improvement is multiphase image acquisition, in which the C300 acquires three images of the heart with every consecutive heartbeat. Imatron's older C150 scanner only collected one image per heartbeat, as do mechanical multislice scanners. The C300 carries a list price of about $2.2 million.

GE believes that there will be a continued role for multislice scanning in cardiac imaging, according to Sorenson. Multislice scanners will be used by facilities that want a wide range of applications, including cardiac and general radiology applications, while EBCT systems will be used by those centers that want a dedicated cardiac scanner, such as cardiac screening facilities, he said. GE also pointed out that the Imatron acquisition makes GE the only CT vendor able to offer an EBCT system.

By Brian Casey staff writer
March 2, 2002

Related Reading

GE completes Imatron acquisition, December 20, 2001

CT sees growth, and new concerns over radiation dose, November 25, 2001

Imatron Q3 revenues, profit decline, November 16, 2001

Imatron adjusts projected revenues, October 8, 2001

GE to buy EBT developer Imatron, September 24, 2001

Copyright © 2002

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