Computerized Transaxial X-ray Tomography of the Human Body

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Science  18 Oct 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4160, pp. 207-212
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4160.207


The ACTA-Scanner has virtually unlimited potential in the evalution of any part of the body. The usefulness of the technique has already been shown in the appraisal of pathologies of the brain and cerebrospinal fluid cavities. The orbits and the eyeballs, the facial sinuses, and skull base lesions have also been elucidated.

Tumors of the larynx, pharynx, thyroid, and parathyroid; lymphomas; and pathology of the spine and spinal cord are well within the reach of this new diagnostic methodology. Lung pathologies, such as emphysema, pneumonias, neoplasms, infarctions, pleural effusions and granulomatous diseases, and mediastinal pathology represent a challenging complex of lesions to be appraised by ACTA-scanning. For the heart, there is great potential for observing cardiac chamber size, hypertrophy of ventricular or atrial walls, and ventricular or aortic aneurysms, and possibly for recognizing the damaged myocardial tissue immediately after or some time after an infarction. The abdominal pathologies that can be studied are almost uncountable: gastric neoplasms, pancreatic cysts and stones, gallstones, neoplasms of the liver and pancreas, bowel tumors, abdominal aortic aneurysms, renal neoplasms and cysts, atrophy of the kidneys, bladder tumors, uterine tumors, ovarian cysts, and many more. Although bones and joints are adequately demonstrated by conventional x-ray techniques, there is no doubt that as the new technique is developed ACTA-grams will contribute significant information in the transverse plane, as well as in densitometric analyses.

The impact of ACTA-scanning will not be limited to the diagnostic area, but will extend, at least indirectly, to general patient management and to some aspects of medical economics as well. Risk-laden, technically complex, and costly diagnostic procedures, sometimes requiring lengthy hospitalization, will in some cases be eliminated. The simple, innocuous, and noninvasive ACTA-scanning can be performed on an outpatient basis. Repeated follow-up examinations should be easily accepted by the patients, considering that this diagnostic test is carried out without discomfort. The entire field of diagnostic radiology is on the verge of revolutionary changes.