Electronic Beam Computed Tomography – Ideal for Capturing Images of the Heart Structure
Beam computed tomography is a form of computed tomography in which the X-ray tube is not mechanically spun so as to rotate the source of X-ray photons. This unique design was explicitly developed to better images of the heart structures which is continuously pumping blood and is in a state of motion. The scanner performs a complete cycle of movement with each heart beat.
In conventional computed tomography technology, the X-ray source-point moves along a circle in space around an object to be imaged. In case of electronic beam computed tomography, the X-ray tube itself is large and static, and partially surrounds the imaging circle. Instead of moving the tube itself, electron-beam focal point is swept electronically along a tungsten anode in the tube, tracing a large circular arc on its inner surface.
The primary application advantage of electronic beam computed tomography is that, the X-ray source-point is swept electronically, not mechanically. So it can be swept at a higher speed.
In 1980s, this design technology was invented for imaging the human heart that is constantly in a state of motion. Rapid imaging is important to prevent blurring of moving structures during the scan. Nowadays, coronary artery angiography imaging is usually performed at 30 frames per second or 0.033 seconds per frame; Electronic beam computed tomography is far closer to this as compared to mechanically swept CT machines.
However the only disadvantage is it mammoth size and low production volume of the EBT design. This CT scanner design has remained more expensive as compared to widely sold CT design in which a small, more conventional X-ray tube is mechanically spun. Although these scanners are not widely in use, this technology represents the fastest commercial CT temporal resolution.