Siemens Healthineers has launched NAEOTOM Alpha, a photon-counting CT scanner that is cleared for clinical use in the U.S. and Europe. Conventional CT imaging has reached its technical limitations, according to Siemens officials: Resolution can only be improved by small margins and dose cannot be reduced significantly: Photon-counting technology enables drastic improvements, they say. These improvements include an increase in resolution and a reduction in radiation dose by up to 45% for ultra-high resolution (UHR) scans compared with conventional CT detectors with a UHR comb filer. 

“More than 15 years ago, work on photon-counting CT and this clinical vision started at Siemens Healthineers. We always believed in the tremendous clinical value and relentlessly worked on it together with our partners,” said Philipp Fischer, head of CT at Siemens Healthineers. “Today, with the introduction of the NAEOTOM Alpha, we are taking a huge step in furthering patient care in a wide range of clinical domains by effectively showing things impossible to see with conventional CT scans. This required a radical rethinking of practically every technological aspect of CT.”

The clinical fields of cardiac imaging, oncology, and pulmonology all have their own unique demands of medical images. In cardiac imaging, it is capturing the heart while moving, which therefore requires speed. The NAEOTOM Alpha delivers speed thanks to its Dual Source design and benefits from spectral information and high resolution for removing obstructions caused by calcifications. This enables diagnostic assessment and allows more patients to benefit from CT imaging—even those with a high calcium burden. 

The high precision offered by the NAEOTOM Alpha is also beneficial in oncology, where reliable and consistent evaluation of disease progress is the most important factor. Therefore, clinical images need to be as conclusive and consistent as possible to make the right decisions. In pulmonology, images need to contain all meaningful answers in as few scans as possible to avoid treatment delays and potentially severe consequences for patients. These needs are met by the NAEOTOM Alpha’s features. Its clinical images inherently carry more information than ever possible before for precise diagnosis, follow-up, and treatment. 

It’s something Thomas Kröncke, MD, head of the department of diagnostic and interventional radiology, University Hospital Augsburg, Germany, has seen firsthand. “We have been working with our own NAEOTOM Alpha CT since April 2021 and are very impressed by initial results,” he says. 

“In oncology, we can break down more precisely which tumor types we are dealing with and thus treat them in a more targeted and effective way,” he adds. “It is like a veil that is now lifting. The new technology is a radical improvement on previous imaging. This will redefine our clinical decision-making right from scan one.”