Hitachi Medical Systems America

The Twinsburg, OH, company will highlight new upgrades and capabilities for its Airis Elite and Altaire line of MRI scanners. New coils are being made available for Airis Elite users, while Altaire is being upgraded with applications for cardiac and peripheral vascular imaging. New breast imaging applications will be shown for both systems.


Airis Elite is a 0.3-tesla vertical-field magnet first introduced at the 2003 RSNA conference. The scanner features radiofrequency fat-saturation capability and multichannel higher-order active shimming, and the scanner's fast gradient system has actively compensated eddy currents for shorter TE and echo spacing.

New coils under development for Airis Elite include a breast coil with biopsy support, and head, lower extremity, and body coils that employ Hitachi's RAPID parallel imaging technology. Hitachi is also rolling out an upgrade that enables owners of older Airis and Airis II scanners to upgrade to the Airis Elite platform. Some of the systems eligible for the Airis Elite upgrade were installed as long as nine years ago, according to the company.

For Altaire, a 0.7-tesla open-style superconducting magnet, Hitachi will tout a breast imaging capability recently added to the scanner. Altaire's open configuration allows lateral access to the breast, a benefit for biopsy procedures, according to the company. Other features of the package include breast-imaging-specific active shimming, a four-channel breast coil, and an enhanced-subtraction algorithm.

Hitachi will also show clinical images that demonstrate Altaire's new peripheral imaging capability. The technique uses a multistation coil with an automated stepping table.

Cardiac MR will also be highlighted as a new Altaire application. Hitachi claims that the 0.7-tesla Altaire has all the cardiac imaging capabilities of traditional closed-bore MRI scanners, including pulse sequences, compensation techniques, interactivity, and parallel imaging.

Finally, Hitachi will discuss the next planned release of its Ascent operating system, Ascent 5.0. The release will include neuro and cardiovascular imaging enhancements, as well as a time-resolved MR angiography capability for dynamic vascular studies. The release will also include a new diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) feature that takes advantage of Altaire's existing single-shot echo-planar imaging (SS-EPI) diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) capability.

By Brian Casey staff writer
November 15, 2004

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