CT Imaging Systems Increase In Size, Weight Allowance And Power To Cater For Growing Waistline Of Patient Population

A recent evaluation1 into imaging systems has revealed a significant increase in the design and capacity of CT scanners provided to NHS and private hospitals over the past 15 years to accommodate the rise in obesity.

This is in line with recent figures published by Public Health England2 citing that 64% of people in England are now overweight or obese.

When an individual categorised as ‘obese’ is referred to hospital for a scan, key considerations for clinicians include: will the system hold the person’s weight, will they fit in the bore and is there sufficient power to penetrate the patient?

The internal evaluation, looking at a range of CT scanners from Siemens Healthcare over the past two decades, has found that the weight allowance of imaging tables has increased by 88%. Additionally, X ray generator power, which contributes to scanners providing a good quality image despite the patient’s size, has increased by 380% and the bore size, where the patient lies, has increased by a total of 10cm.

“The number of bariatric patients being referred for CT scans has more than doubled in the last 25 years and this is predicted to continue rising,” states Russell Lodge, CT Business Manager at Siemens Healthcare. “We have witnessed a growing need and demand for obesity provision from hospital imaging departments across the country to ensure patients of all sizes can gain access to the treatment they need. It is essential that manufacturers respond from a design and innovation perspective to ensure that systems hold more weight, include a bigger bore and penetrate larger body mass.”

Table weight allowance – on the rise

Being able to hold a person’s weight without causing damage to the scanner or risking injury to the patient is an increasingly important consideration for clinicians. Table weight allowances have almost doubled from 160KG in earlier scanners on the market around ten years ago up to the availability of 300KG allowances in systems today.

Generator power – on the rise

The X ray generator power rating of a CT scanner is an important factor in ensuring good image quality; therefore if there is not enough power when it comes to larger patients, a diagnostic image may not be gained. Power has increased significantly from around 50KW 10 years ago, with the most advanced CT scanners now up to 2 x 120KW, making it ideal for rapid volume coverage with obese patients.

Bore size – on the rise

In previous generation diagnostic systems, the bore, where the patient enters the imaging system, would generally be 70cm. Recently this has expanded up to 80cm. This is good news in response to a rising waist size in UK adults which sees an average of 40% of adults with a raised waistline in 2012 compared to an average of 24% in 19933.

1. Evaluation undertaken by Siemens Healthcare into the historical and current statistics of CT imaging systems 2. Public Health England, 4th February 2014, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-release-local-authority-adult-obesity-data 3. Public Health England - Obesity statistics http://www.noo.org.uk/NOO_about_obesity/adult_obesity/international

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