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    Israeli Nuclear Imaging System Revolutionizes Hospital Procedures‌

Spectrum Dynamics' Veriton-CT shortens scan times and enhances image quality, benefiting pediatric patients and hospitals globally.‌  
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A unique Israeli nuclear imaging system now used in major international hospitals shortens procedures significantly while delivering more accurate and clearer images.

A bone scan that conventionally takes 45 minutes now takes just 12 minutes, with image quality several magnitudes better, using the newest version of the Veriton system from Spectrum Dynamics introduced last year at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

This is a game-changing difference, especially for pediatric patients trying to stay calm and still while undergoing imaging procedures.

Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva was the first children’s hospital in the world to implement Spectrum Dynamics’ Veriton-CT system, about half a year ago. Others have since followed.

More effective and efficient

“In nuclear medicine, we have gamma cameras — also know as SPECT cameras — that detect radiation emitted from the patient from which they can reconstruct a 2D or 3D image showing the distribution of the injected radiopharmaceutical in the body. Variations from the normal expected distribution indicate the presence of disease,” explains Dr. Zvi Bar-Sever, director of Schneider’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and president of the Israeli Society of Nuclear Medicine. 

“We also have SPECT cameras that are combined with a CT scanner — SPECT/CT — which can perform both a nuclear medicine scan and a CT scan in one imaging session. Our processing workstations register and fuse the SPECT and the CT data. The combined image improves our diagnostic accuracy.” 

While a conventional SPECT camera has two large imaging heads taking pictures simultaneously from all directions, the Veriton-CT camera has a different design and different type of radiation detectors, says Bar-Sever.

“Instead of two large heads, this camera has 12 smaller heads connected to a ring. Each head is equipped with a digital radiation detector. These heads come extremely close to the patient from all directions. It makes the process of collecting radiation emitted from the patient much more effective and efficient,” he says. 

And the images aren’t planar; they are 3D from the start.

Less time and radiation

With Spectrum Dynamics’ Veriton-CT, Bar-Sever adds, “you can shorten the imaging time and also decrease the amount of radioactivity you are administering to patients for the scan. 

“This is especially important in children because they are more prone to hazardous effects of ionizing radiation and we do whatever we can to reduce that.”

Schneider’s policy is to perform nuclear medicine scans without sedation or anesthesia by keeping children visually distracted with an audiovisual entertainment system. 

“But some scans can take up to 30 or 60 minutes and even the most cooperative child might move, meaning we may have to repeat the scanning process. The Veriton camera lets us finish faster, with reduced radiation exposure.”

Bar-Sever says that a DMSA renal (kidney) scan conventionally takes 20 to 25 minutes. With the Veriton, it takes just five minutes, and the radiation is reduced by 25 percent. 

A conventional MIBG scan, used to diagnose and manage neuroblastoma tumors, takes 90 minutes. The Veriton cuts that time in half. 

“Performing a CT scan with the Veriton-CT camera allows us to measure the amount of radioactivity and radiopharmaceutical concentration at any point in the body,” Bar-Sever says. 

“If we see multiple metastases, in addition to describing their location we can measure them with this camera. Then we can give a number to the tumor burden on the body and keep track of it in the future. This is useful information for clinicians that we couldn’t provide earlier with the conventional camera.” 

New type of detector

Spectrum Dynamics was founded about 18 years ago and is headquartered in Caesarea (northwest Israel) with offices in Florida, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. The privately held company employs some 190 people worldwide. 

The first order of business for the company’s founder and CTO, Yoel Zilberstein, was changing the 40-year-old paradigm of using sodium iodide in nuclear imaging. 

Seeking to achieve improved resolution and accuracy, he invented a digital scanner based on a new semiconductor material, cadmium zinc telluride (CZT), which directly converts photons (gamma rays) into electrical signals. 

The company’s first commercial product, D-SPECT, utilizes CZT solid-state digital detector technology mainly for cardiac imaging.

“With D-SPECT, you no longer had to go through several processes because it directly converts energy deposited in CZT into images,” explains Johann Fernando, Spectrum Dynamics’ Florida-based EVP-Marketing. 

“The material provides much better energy resolution. It helps detect the photons hitting the detector more accurately and crisply to be able to detect disease. Yoel also invented swivel detectors that can look at the entire patient’s body in a more uniform way.” 

First on market

The Veriton platform was brought to market about five years ago. The CT addition to the scanner was introduced about three years ago and was a unique development.

“We were the first to bring out the 360-degee, fully digital platform,” says Fernando, adding that GE recently rolled out a similar product.

For Schneider Children’s Medical Center, the fact that the Veriton-CT is designed and manufactured in Israel is a big advantage, says Bar-Sever. 

“We can communicate with all the engineers and developers to try new improvements and suggestions. You don’t have this type of real-time support with giant brands.”

Spectrum Dynamics’ D-SPECT and Veriton series machines have been sold far and wide, however, including top hospitals such as Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mount Sinai in New York, CHUM in Montreal and other centers in Thailand, France and Spain. 

            Produced in association with ISRAEL21c

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