Deep intelligent CT scanners with AI inside transform breadth of clinical procedures

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, a major acute teaching hospital in Scotland and part of NHS Lothian, has recently installed two new AI-assisted CT scanners from Canon Medical. Designed using Deep Learning Reconstruction, the systems are powered by an Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE) to deliver high quality medical imaging at speed to overcome the time vs patient demand challenge that most hospitals face today. A range of software applications also expands the procedures and possibilities for patient clinical practice and research.

In CT Pulmonary Angiography, iodine mapping is used as standard which provides the radiologists with extra information to aid diagnosis. A greater level of information delivered more quickly is better for clinical decision-making and is now achieved at lower dose. Similarly, Interventional Radiologists have found the subtraction package for CT Peripheral Angiograms extremely valuable. This provides excellent visualisation of the vessels, replacing the need to see vascular calcification via an MRI scan, which is not suitable for many patients, but still with reassurance of the dose being low. All of the processing is done automatically by the CT. Furthermore, using the CT fluoroscopy package, the time taken to undertake biopsies has halved, therefore reducing appointment times for patients experiencing uncomfortable procedures.

“As radiographers we can become blasé about the imaging equipment we use on a daily basis, but the arrival of the new Aquilion ONE PRISM Edition CT and Aquilion Prime SP CT have reminded us of the amazing innovation going into medical imaging today. Our cardiologists have been blown away with how quick a cardiac CT is acquired using the wide detector, as well as the image quality achieved at such low doses.” states Lynne Thomson, CT/MRI Superintendent at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

She continues, “It’s not just the speed, low dose and image quality that have impressed us, but also the versatility of the new CT scanners. The ‘Area Finder’ functionality is useful for 4D joints and extremity imaging, which means we can seat patients at the end of the scanner. We have plans to adapt the way we book appointments for inpatients and outpatients since the arrival of the new CTs, which will lead to better workflow across a number of departments at the hospital.”

Mark Thomas, CT Modality Manager at Canon Medical Systems UK states, “There is no trade off in welcoming AI into the imaging department today through modality CT. No apprehension or anxiety should be part of the decision about embracing the future of AI in medical imaging. Our scanners are built to be used in the same way that radiographers are used to but have intelligent technology inside powering the processing and steering the quality of image output. This illuminates enthusiasm and initiates a brighter future of CT scanning.”

“We have had trust in Canon Medical Systems for nearly two decades with a long-standing positive relationship in its medical imaging innovation, and for its after-sales and customer service. When our current 10-year-old CT scanners reached end of life, Canon Medical was again the natural choice. The new generation of Aquilion CT scanners is outstanding compared to what we were used to. Our radiologists have been amazed by the improved image quality and speed of procedures, and as radiographers, we are very pleased at the significantly reduced dose to patients,” Lynne Thomson concludes.

Photo caption: The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, part of NHS Lothian, has recently installed two new AI-assisted CT scanners from Canon Medical. Pictured L to R: Iain Gray, Account Manager at Canon Medical; Lorna Chalmers, Radiographer; Lynne Thomson, CT/MRI Superintendent; Matthew Reilly, Radiographer; and Colin Fraser, Clinical Assistant.

Superb CT image quality, at speed and at ultra-low dose expands clinical possibilities and improves positive patient outcomes

 The insatiable demand for speed and high-quality graphics in the gaming industry has brought with it affordable, high-end computing power that is now being utilised in AI-assisted CT scanners in UK hospitals. For the first time high quality, ultra-low dose CT imaging at speeds fast enough to be used in real time on every patient has now become a reality.

Leighton Hospital, part of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was one of the first hospitals in the UK to install a new CT scanner with a ‘super computer’ inside, and is now one of the first to receive the version two upgrade of the Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE). This maintains the incredibly low doses achieved previously, but further enhances the true-to-life image quality of patient scan images to deliver earlier diagnosis and treatment planning to improve patient health outcomes.

“AI-assisted CT has made the impossible, possible. Before, to produce high quality images at super low doses was not possible in useable real world time frames. Now, the Deep Learning Reconstruction algorithms on the Canon Medical range of Aquilion CT scanners has driven down dose to ultra-low levels – reductions of up to 92% below UK National Diagnostic Reference Levels – at the same time as delivering high-quality images never seen before. This is vital in an era where CT demand has grown exponentially as a frontline triage tool for earlier and more detailed diagnosis,” states Dr Richard Hawkins, Consultant Radiologist at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“Dose is such an important factor in medical technology innovation. Take for example, a young patient with kidney stones – they potentially face a lifetime of CT scans and this has a cumulative radiation dose risk over time. Therefore, the sizeable reduction in the dose administered to patients at each scan, whilst still gaining excellent images for clinical decision making, is revolutionising medicine,” he continues. “It is the ultra-low dose and clear quality images at high speed from AI-assisted CT that will underpin and drive forward CT, including recent calls for proactive CT screening for lung cancer. Identifying tiny cancers before they grow to an inoperable size will save lives and to do this with high quality CT equivalent to the dose of just a few chest X-rays is now possible. Furthermore, ultra-low dose CT Pulmonary Angiograms (CTPA) are now standard in pregnant mothers and more recently COVID-19 patients, many of which at this stage are young or middle aged. Low dose is essential for long-term health beyond the condition for which they are being treated.”

“The computing power of Aquilion CT scanners with Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE) has been made possible by a partnership with NVIDIA, the company behind computer graphics processing units that are powering consumer gaming and driverless cars. This has helped to provide the high-performance computing power needed for the CT reconstruction technology inside our CT scanners, making AI-assisted CT affordable and accessible to all hospitals,” states Mark Thomas, CT Modality Manager at Canon Medical Systems UK.

Leighton Hospital has Advanced intelligent Clear-IQ Engine (AiCE) on an Aquilion ONE GENESIS Edition CT and Aquilion Prime SP CT, both installed by Canon Medical over the last eighteen months.

Photo caption: Gaming tech innovation drives advances in UK medical imaging