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GE Medical Systems Unveils LightSpeed Ultra CT Scanner For Better Pediatric Exams and FDA Clearance for 16-slice Continuum.

Business Editors/Health & Medical Writers

CHICAGO--(BW HealthWire)--Nov. 26, 2001

Ultra System Scans Three Times Faster with 30 Percent Less Dose

GE Medical Systems, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), today announced at the Radiological Society of North America meeting major technology advancements for computed tomography (CT). Unveiled were features and benefits of the new GE LightSpeed(TM) Ultra, a revolutionary eight-slice CT system that provides scans up to three times faster and up to 30 percent less radiation dose than four-slice scanners.

GE Medical also announced it received clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its 16-slice CT system. As part of the GE Continuum for LightSpeed, the system will be available next year.

With an estimated 50 million CT exams performed each year, CT is one of the most popular diagnostic tools for medical professionals worldwide. CT scans combine the power of X-ray technology and computers, allowing physicians to view wafer-thin cross-sections of internal anatomy (commonly called "slices") without the need for surgery.

"GE is taking a major leadership role to lower radiation dose especially in children, and to change and improve the way physicians use CT," said Dr. Donald Frush, chief of pediatric radiology at Duke University Medical Center.

GE's LightSpeed Ultra, which is already installed at nearly 150 locations worldwide, incorporates several new dose-reducing features that benefit both children and adults, known collectively as OptiDose.(TM) These features produce optimal image quality at minimal dose levels for any patient and any application. LightSpeed Ultra with OptiDose can reduce a patient's radiation exposure by up to 30 percent compared to other four-slice CT scanners.

"Pediatric exams benefit significantly from the system's dose saving technologies," said Peter Arduini, General Manager, Global CT, GE Medical Systems. "A full range of pre-loaded pediatric protocols based on a child's height and weight help optimize dose levels for the type of scan being performed."

Another major dose-saving feature is SmartmA Enhanced,(TM) which matches dose levels to the anatomy of individual patients, compensating for patient-to-patient variations in body thickness and shape. SmartmA Enhanced enables optimal settings to be predicted during a pre-exam, so that technologists can know a patient's dose level before a scan is performed, without sacrificing image quality. SmartmA Enhanced will be available on the system as early as April 2002.

The LightSpeed Ultra features six other innovative dose reduction advancements including protocol wizards, the high efficiency HiLight Matrix Detector, artifact reduction algorithms designed to produce low-dose, high-quality studies in hard-to-image areas of anatomy, and prospective EKG gating to help reduce dose in cardiac applications.

The LightSpeed Ultra is the world's first CT scanner capable of gathering eight slices of data per rotation - a major leap in performance from current four-slice scanners. It enables physicians to complete exams three times faster with half the slice thickness and with up to 30 percent less dose than those produced by conventional four-slice CT systems. The result is a higher level of detail, so physicians can see the smallest changes in anatomy that may signal disease or trauma - all with less dose to the patient.

Commenting on the results of the new technology, Dr. Friedrich Knollmann from the University of Berlin, Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany said, "The new GE LightSpeed Ultra significantly improves three major components of diagnostic quality - image detail, examination speed and vessel contrast. Exams are completed sooner, yield more diagnostic information, and provide new clinical insights that have been unattainable so far," said Knollman.

"The system makes every second count in every application. Its breathtaking speed and image quality reduce diagnostic time in trauma and emergency cases, and aid in the detection of lesions, spinal injuries, and cardiovascular conditions," said Arduini.

The GE scanner's exceptional speed also makes it possible to scan the entire heart in one breath hold and to scan nearly the entire body in just 26 seconds. It can be used for a full range of CT exams, including cardiovascular, trauma, colon, lung, neurological, chest/abdomen/pelvis, angiography and vascular studies.

Dr. Raye L. Bellinger, FACC from Sacramento Heart and Vascular Medical Associates, Sacramento, Calif. said the scanner offers new options in CT cardiovascular imaging. "The LightSpeed Ultra is a breakthrough in cardiovascular assessment and preventive imaging applications. It's design and system speed assures me of outstanding cardiac imaging results--patient after patient," said Bellinger.

According to Dr. Ella Kazerooni, Associate Professor and Director of Thoracic Radiology at University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich, the LightSpeed Ultra raises the bar to achieve consistently high quality CT Angiographic studies and makes high quality CT Angiography routine, not the exception. "And for short-of-breath-patients who undergo a CT chest exam, time is motion. LightSpeed Ultra saves time, thereby reducing motion and improving image quality," said Kazerooni.

"The GE LightSpeed Ultra's speed and image quality will revolutionize physicians' approach to chest pain patients," said Dr. Michael Brant-Zawadzki, Medical Director of Radiology at Hoag Memorial Hospital, Newport Beach, Calif.

"With LightSpeed Ultra, we continue to push the boundaries in computed tomography. Thinner slices and faster scan speeds open the door to a wealth of new applications that will extend the diagnostic utility of this vital imaging modality," said Arduini. "The fact that GE can deliver 8-slice technology today, with an upgrade path to 16-slice technology next year, gives our physicians access to the most sophisticated technology today, tomorrow and for years to come."

Since 1998 when the first LightSpeed was introduced, the LightSpeed family of CT systems have been known for quality in hospitals and imaging centers worldwide. Today, nearly 1,700 LightSpeed systems are installed globally and 95 percent of them are still operating with their original X-ray tube.

All LightSpeed CT products are developed for Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). "As a result, GE continues to develop breakthrough technology that is meaningful and reliable, not just new," added Arduini.

About GE Medical Systems

GE Medical Systems is an $8 billion global leader in medical information and technology. Its offerings include networking and productivity tools, clinical information systems, patient monitoring systems, conventional and digital X-ray, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), ultrasound and bone mineral densitometry, positron emission tomography (PET), and nuclear medicine. For more than 100 years, health care providers worldwide have relied on GE Medical Systems for high-quality medical technology, services and productivity solutions. For more information, visit the GE Medical Systems Web site at gemedical.com.
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Date:Nov 26, 2001
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