Nuclear medical imaging technology has evolved drastically over the years; however there are surprisingly still a large number of antiquated Anger-based imaging systems in use today. These Anger technology gamma cameras use vacuum tube photomultipliers (PMTs) and hygroscopic sodium iodide (NaI) crystals, technologies that are now more than 50 years old.
Digirad developed a solution to the limitations of the Anger camera with the creation and design of solid-state nuclear imaging systems. Solid-state cameras offer a number of benefits over Anger-based systems including, but not limited to, their ultra compact and lightweight design, higher quality images, enhanced patient experience, and their ability to be used in fixed or mobile configurations.
Digirad’s solid-state pixilated Cesium Iodide detectors provide high performance over the entire useable field-of-view. With Anger technology, the performance degrades as you move away from the center of the detector. Solid-state pixilated detectors take out the guess work in image processing by providing the precise location of the gamma ray emitted, where Anger-based PMTs require estimation on where the location of the gamma is that hits the Nal crystal. In addition, solid-state image contrast is superb.
Compact Design and Cost Benefits
Digirad’s Cardius® series cardiac SPECT cameras require only 7 x 8 feet of space (a typical exam room) due to their open upright design and small footprint. Digirad’s Ergo™ is portable and can be moved wherever needed throughout the hospital. Digirad cameras don’t need to be anchored to the floor and require no special floor preparations as typical with Anger type cameras. Digirad’s solid-state camera systems weigh less than 800 pounds making installation possible on nearly any floor, typically without any room modifications. Installation is generally two days or less compared to one to two weeks for most Anger cameras, not to mention the time and cost associated with any construction requirements to accommodate the larger Anger systems. Also, Digirad’s cameras can be easily and inexpensively relocated at any time.
Enhanced Patient Care
Solid-state benefits enhance the quality of care that physicians can provide to patients in more ways than one. With Digirad’s Ergo™ portable imaging system in the hospital, patients who are in critical condition or who have mobility restrictions can have this technology brought right to them.
Claustrophobia is reduced or eliminated with the open design on all Digirad cameras. With Digirad’s Cardius® systems, patient comfort is improved considerably with the upright design and patient chair where patients can sit comfortably, rather than lying down. The compactness of solid-state detectors means the patients’ arms don’t have to be raised as high as traditionally required using larger Anger-type detectors. Digirad’s revolutionary solid-state technology also paved the way for use of the Cardius systems in Digirad’s mobile nuclear cardiology services solution.
Solid-state technology is revolutionizing the way that physicians perform nuclear diagnostic imaging. By enhancing the quality, decreasing the footprint, and improving the patient experience, Digirad’s solid-state technology is providing new dimensions to nuclear imaging.