A next-generation CT scanner recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration promises less radiation exposure and better images.

Researchers from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, and engineers from Toshiba Medical Systems worked on the new computer tomography scanner, according to an NIH news release. It must still go through more studies before it can be adopted for wide clinical use.

But in a study in the Jan. 22 online edition of the journal Radiology, researchers say the CT scans reduced radiation exposure by as much as 95 percent in 107 patients undergoing heart scans. The scanner also produced images with greater visibility of fine details.

In addition, the scanner was able to image the entire heart within one heartbeat roughly 93 percent of the time.

— Heidi Hagemeier, The Bulletin