Papworth Hospital unveils rapid imaging CT system

SOMATOM Force designed to transform patient comfort

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has unveiled a SOMATOM Force in its radiology department to bolster its cardiac imaging services.

The CT imaging system will benefit patients by using the lowest-achievable dose and will provide patients who suffer with shortness of breath with rapid scanning.

With approximately half of all the hospital’s CT imaging consisting of cardiac procedures, it is anticipated the system will increase cardiac throughput.

“As the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital we are delighted to be the first to install this state-of-the-art CT technology in the UK,” said Leigh Clements, lead radiographer at Papworth Hospital.

“Due to their medical condition a number of our patients present with shortness of breath, which can mean acquiring good-quality images is challenging. The SOMATOM Force has a Turbo Flash Mode which allows free breathing and rapid scanning, thereby greatly reducing this problem. It also allows us to reduce the volume of contrast required which is also a benefit to patients.”

The SOMATOM Force will be used for various diagnostic cardiac CT examinations including coronary artery and grafts imaging and pre-TAVI and pre-ablation imaging. It will also be used for thoracic procedures such as thoracic oncology and pulmonary vascular imaging.

During the selection process it was compared against a number of other systems and chosen for its low-dose features and ease of use due to the simple, yet-advanced interface. It joins a range of other Siemens CT and MR systems in the department.

The CT technology encompasses a Spiral Dual Energy feature where two X-ray sources run simultaneously at different energies, allowing for easy classification of the scanned tissue at the right dose. The Force utilises power reserves from two 120 kW generators and direct anode cooling from the Vectron X-ray tubes. The combination allows for more patients to be scanned at low kV from 70 to 90 kV. The system also offers the industry's-highest native temporal resolution of 66 ms at 0.25 s rotation, which will allow images to be taken even when the patient is moving and provides excellent image quality.

“Papworth Hospital aims to provide the very best cardiothoracic service and care to its patients and the installation of a SOMATOM Force will help provide the technology to do that,” said Russell Lodge, CT business manager at Siemens Healthcare.

“The capability of the scanner to routinely use low KV settings on most patients means that a greatly-reduced contrast volume is administered. This is very good news for patients with renal insufficiency, paediatrics, and the elderly.”