by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | November 30, 2021
Attendees at this week’s RSNA annual conference got their first look at GE Healthcare’s SIGNA Hero, a 3.0T MR system designed to help meet the needs of modern workflows.
The system is the first to offer expanded Air Recon technology, including for 2D and motion correction. It also has a new magnet that is lighter and 1.4 times more efficient than previous generations, a 70-cm-wide bore, decreases power consumption, and consumes up to 67% less helium over its lifetime, making it sustainable.
Another component is its expanded Air Coil technology, which enables it to perform whole body imaging and allows providers to perform complex procedures in less time. For example, with prostate exams, the coils replace the traditional endorectal coil and enable wing-to-wing clinical solutions like One Stop Prostate imaging with AIR Coils and AIR Recon DL to complete the scan within 10 minutes instead of an hour. The coils are lightweight and can wrap around the patient, like a blanket, to fit their form, and clinicians can position them anywhere during a scan.
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“We believe this is an ideal hospital system,” Ioannis Panagiotelis, GE Healthcare's chief marketing officer for MR, told HCB News. "But at the same time, because of Air Recon and the capabilities that we put in this system, private providers are able to do in a clinical routine setting examinations that would have otherwise been complex."
The system is intended to help providers manage the growing disease burden and staffing shortages seen worldwide since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare systems in the U.S. alone experienced a 35% drop in MR scan volume, from 42 million in 2019 to an estimated 27.4 million in 2020. Many exams were pushed back as non-urgent.
SIGNA Hero’s wide bore and detachable table can accommodate patients of all shapes and sizes with enhanced comfort. Its AIR Recon DL technology improves image clarity for all anatomies, improves operational efficiency and reduces exam times by 30%-50%. In addition, GE’s deep learning technologies, 3D Sequences and PROPELLER for motion robustness, utilize better signals to improve image quality in half the time for nearly 90% of the daily clinical scans completed, regardless of the anatomy being imaged. Clinicians also can scan multiple organs simultaneously and make fewer adjustments to perform whole-body imaging on different patients.
Leveraging the Edison platform, SIGNA Hero utilizes AIR Touch to automate coil selection and landmarking to simplify and reduce scan set-up time by up to 37%. AIR x, meanwhile, provides automated slice prescriptions to reduce redundant, manual steps, while increasing consistency and productivity for brain and knee scanning.
“MR is entering a world where it is not simply providing images,” said Panagiotelis. “It is providing detailed information about the progress of the disease, monitoring of the treatment of the disease and of course, precision diagnosis.”
The solution comes with GE Healthcare’s built-in Digital Ecosystem, which provides expert support and coaching to staff, manages department protocols and remotely updates scanner software when it best suits department schedules.
Its name pays homage to the frontline healthcare workers and their work in caring for patients throughout the pandemic.
SIGNA Hero is 510(k)-pending, and GE is aiming to begin sales for it sometime in 2022. The expansion of the Air Recon technology is also 510(k)-pending.