Better images of the heart - less radiation

The Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) in Linköping is upgrading its equipment and ensuring its place as a world leader in its field.

Recently Force, the most advanced CT scanner in the Siemens range, was installed. It will increase the quality of images, reduce the radiation dosage and open up new possibilities of looking at the heart and joints, and more, in four dimensions.

“Only a few places n the world have Force; through its unique collaboration with Siemens, CMIV has been able to make an investment that will be hugely beneficial to health care, research, and industry – and more importantly to patients,” says Professor Anders Persson, director of CMIV.

Larger areas in shorter time

The new scanner is stronger and quicker than the old one.

“For example it can scan larger areas in a shorter time, the whole body can be imaged in one second,” says Petter Quick, radiology nurse and expert in computed tomography (CT).

CT is one of two imaging techniques employed for clinical use and research at CMIV. In contrast to magnetic resonance imaging, it uses x-rays. Thanks to new technology, Force can work with a significantly lower radiation dosage than older scanners, which reduces the impact on the patient.

Siemens' new CT scannerWhile the tomograph makes one rotation round the body in a quarter of the second, one exposure is taken every 66 milliseconds. The result is a large number of cross-sectional images, each slice being approximately half a millimetre. This extremely high resolution reduces the risk of distortion when the patient moves, is unable to hold his/her breath or is far too overweight.

Time the fourth dimension

It also opens up the possibility of investigating in 4-D, where time is the fourth dimension. One research project being planned deals with performing a cardiac function examination, not just to find stenoses but also to see if these are causing impaired blood flow. Another is to scan the joints while the patient is working with his/her knee.

“These projects lie at the limit of what it is possible, but that is where CMIV wants to be,” says Mr Quick.

Upper picture: The new scanner is rolled in through a large hole in the wall in the CMIV centre in the University Hospital
Lower picture: Patients are exposed to a lower dosage of radiation in Force. (Photo: Siemens)

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Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV)