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Photos of the Day: You Won’t Believe What This Machine Can See

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 2:22pm
GE Reports

Two days before Christmas 1895, shortly after Wilhelm Röentgen discovered X-rays by experimenting with a cathode tube in his laboratory, he invited his wife to experience the phenomenon. Anna Bertha Ludwig put her left hand inside his apparatus and became the first human to be X-rayed. But when she saw her wedding ring slipped over the bones of her fourth finger, her reaction was far from jubilant. “I have seen my death,” she exclaimed.

Röentgen became immediately famous but it was not until 1913 that X-ray imaging took off. That year physicist William D. Coolidge, a longtime director of the GE Research Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, invented the X-ray Tube.

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A print of one of the first X-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen (1845–1923) of the left hand of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig. It was presented to Professor Ludwig Zehnder of the Physik Institut, University of Freiburg, on 1 January 1896. Source: NASA

Coolidge kept perfecting his tube and received 83 patents for the technology. The tube effectively started radiology as a medical discipline and launched a series of innovations raging from the X-ray machine to computed tomography.

The latest in that line is GE’s Revolution* CT scanner, which was just cleared for use in the U.S. Where Roentgen and Coolidge could see just shadowy outlines of bones and organs, the new machine can image the heart in just one heartbeat.

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In 1939, GE medical scanners produced X-ray images of mummies for the New York World’s Fair (above). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library. 

The system uses high-resolution and motion correcting technology similar to the image stabilization features in personal cameras. The blend of speed and clarity is important because it allows doctors to retrieve sharper images with higher resolution at lower radiation doses.

Cardiologists can use the Revolution to image patients with high heart rates, oncologists can use its low-dose settings to study liver, kidneys, pancreas and other organs, and neurologists can quickly assess brains of stroke patients. “This will be the first CT scanner that’s right for physicians in every clinical specialty and provides answers from one CT exam,” said Steve Gray, president and CEO of GE Healthcare MICT.

The FDA just issued a 510(k) clearance, which clears the device for use in the U.S.

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Circle of Willis supplies blood to the brain: Low dose high definition neuro CT angiography 120kV / 200mA / 0.8 sec rotation. Lead picture: An image from triple rule-out, a CT procedure that can be used for patients with acute chest pain: Low kV gated chest CT angiography 80kV / 450mA / 0.28 sec rotation / BMI 23 / bpm 56-59.

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A high definition image of carotid arteries. The circle of Willis is in the center of the skull: 2 volumes 100kV / 300mA / 0.8 sec rotation / BMI 25 / 2.3mSv.

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This image captured by GE’s Revolution CT scanner shows the human heart with stents typically used to treat narrow or weak arteries.

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Fast body imaging of the pelvis and the abdomen: 4 volumes 
120kV / 280mA / 0.5 sec rotation / BMI 29 / 10mSv.

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Fast body imaging of the pelvis and the abdomen: 4 volumes 
120kV / 280mA / 0.5 sec rotation / BMI 29 / 10mSv.

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The Revolution CT can image the whole aorta: Fast body vascular imaging using 4 volumes 120kV / 415mA / 0.4 sec rotation / BMI 29 / 12mSv.

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High-definition musculoskeletal imaging with screws: 1 volume 
140kV / 120mA / 0.5 sec rotation.

*Revolution CT is a GE Healthcare trademark.

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