CT Radiologists often inject contrast dyes in patient's body to get high contrast CT images to differentiate blood vessels and tissues. The contrast dye attains its equilibrium at different times in different patients (i.e. it may take 60 seconds in one patient and may take 90 seconds in another).
The SmartPrep software allows the operator to find the critical point (exact time when the contrast between the tissue and the blood vessels are highest) and lets the operator to start the prescription scans to get high contrast CT images.
The system allows the operator first, to scan a low dose image (base image) and to specify different areas in the image (called region of interest or ROI) through interactive graphical objects (circles, ellipse, etc). After this phase, the contrast dye is injected in the patient and the system starts low dose scanning on the same area repeatedly upto a preset maximum number of scans. These scans are called monitor scans. After receiving each of these monitor scans, the system computes the mean CT values of the ROI regions entered in phase one, and plots these values against the elapsed time in graphical plots. The operator can monitor these plots and start the prescription scans when the plot reaches the equilibrium. The system also displays the images as they come in at real-time for the operator to visually see the images with the RIO's plotted on them.