Evaluation Background: Mid-Tier CT Systems

December 31, 2019 | Evaluations & Guidance

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Here's background for our Evaluations of mid-tier CT systems for general radiology, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and ECRI Institute's data describing hospitals' interest in each system.

Computed tomography (CT) is an x-ray imaging procedure used for a variety of clinical applications. Mid-tier CT scanners are considered to be the "workhorse" scanners in most imaging departments. They are used for a broad range of clinical indications, such as spine and head imaging, gastrointestinal imaging, vascular imaging, cancer staging and radiotherapy treatment planning, screening for cancers and heart disease, rapid imaging of trauma, imaging of musculoskeletal disorders, detection of signs of infectious disease, and guidance of certain interventional procedures (e.g., biopsies). CT is the preferred imaging exam for diagnosing several types of cancers, and along with the chest x-ray, CT is the most commonly performed procedure for imaging the chest. CT is also used to perform noninvasive angiographic imaging to assess the large blood vessels.

Mid-tier CT scanners incorporate, at minimum, the following technologies:

  1. Digital detectors that should be able to reconstruct 128 slices from 64 detectors. The detector array width is usually about 4 cm (1.6 in).

  2. "Single-beat" cardiac gated imaging

  3. Patient dose reduction techniques, such as...

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