Medical Device Daily European Editor

DÜSSELDORF, Germany If you could use a free ultrasound exam, this is the place.

Ultrasound is ubiquitous at Medica, the world's largest exposition of medical devices, as easy to find as bratwurst and beer.

And while the competition gets tougher with new players entering every year, the market also continues to expand.

It has expanded so much that it has attracted consumer electronics giant Samsung (Seoul, South Korea)(Medical Device Daily, March 5, 2012).

Positioning to defend its leading position in this market, Toshiba Medical Systems Europe (Zoetermeer, the Netherlands), has reinvigorated its Xario line introducing two new workhorse systems here.

"Why wait for RSNA?" asked Joerg Schlegel, senior manager for product marketing, explaining why the company broke with the industry tradition of saving its new products for the congress of the Radiological Society of North America (Oak Brook, Illinois) that will be held in Chicago in 10 days.

"Our customers are here now," he said. "Chicago is for radiologists, at Medica we are addressing a much wider audience, because today ultrasound is being used throughout the hospital from Ob/Gyn to cardiology.

The Xario 100 and Xario 200 are designed for shared-services use, he said, extending many capabilities of the high-end Aplio platform onto a more compact, highly transportable system.

A promotional video on the Toshiba stand shows two clinicians packing the complete system from trolley cart to transducers into a 1960s Fiat Cinquecento, a car commonly called a "yogurt pot" in Europe.

"The customer segment just below the high segment served by the Aplio platform is a very important and fast-growing group we are addressing with Xario," said Christoph Simm, ultrasound business manager of Toshiba Europe

"The new Xario we are introducing here creates enormous potential and gives us strong confidence that we can continue and even accelerate our growth strategy in these markets," he said.

"The image quality is phenomenal," he added, saying this becomes a critical advantage, consistent with Toshiba's reputation in the premium market as the company extends its offering to a wider number of users with a more accessible, not to say, affordable, platform.

Xario is built around Toshiba's high density imaging architecture, migrating the majority of imaging enhancement technologies developed for Aplio, including Advanced Dynamic Flow, ApliPure, and even Differential Tissue Harmonic Imaging that provides deep penetration with high resolution.

"Our engineers make no compromise when it comes to confirm Toshiba's reputation for providing outstanding image quality. We want to enable our customers to see more and make better diagnostics also with the Xario," said Kazufumi Ishiyama, general manager for Toshiba Global Ultrasound Business, in a statement.

Xario comes with a range of wide bandwidth transducers from standard models to specialty probes to assure high quality images through the entire acquisition chain.

"Of course there is a touch screen," laughed Simm, as this has become the must-have user interface for medical devices of all types.

The console is fully customizable allowing users to optimize imaging parameters with a single touch for all transducers and application protocols at any time during the exam.

The Xario can tailor the system to various clinical specialties, notably for cardiovascular applications notably with an optional stress-echo program and tissue enhancement function.

Toshiba will be packing up the Xario 200 model for a trip to RSNA in Chicago, but the Xario 100 will be staying in Europe until it wins its wings from the FDA.

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