A Medical Device Daily

At this week'sRadiological Society of North America(RSNA; Oak Brook, Illinois) annual meeting in Chicago, a substantial emphasis forToshiba America Medical Systems(TAMS; Tustin, California) has been on advancements in medical imaging technology aimed toward increased early detection of breast cancer.

Noting that such advancements have "significantly increased" early detection and improved outcomes for patients with breast cancer, TAMS unveiled its Radiance Plus Breast Imaging Suite, available on the Vantage Atlas and Vantage Titan MR systems.

The new multi-channel Radiance Plus Breast Imaging Coil optimizes magnetic resonance mammography (MRM) on the Vantage systems. They are an addition to existing Vantage coils, which are designed to improve workflow and patient comfort.

"Breast MR is effective in helping to diagnose breast cancer and the Radiance Plus Breast Imaging Suite is the latest technological advancement in improving image quality," said Bob Giegerich, director of Toshiba's MR Business Unit. "The higher signal-to-noise ratio created by the coil results in clearer images."

The bilateral, dedicated, multi-element Radiance Plus Breast Imaging Coil provides high temporal and spatial resolution for dynamic analysis and lesion characterization. The coil delivers a high signal-to-noise ratio, significantly increasing the breast image quality.

Toshiba America said the Vantage Atlas and Titan features "greatly improve the patient experience in a MR machine."

The company said the systems have the ability to perform breast exams feet first, reducing patient discomfort and claustrophobia, and its Pianissimo technology reduces acoustic noise by up to 90%, addressing the No. 1 patient complaint with what it said is "the quietest system available."

Additionally, as part of its push to help improve diagnostic confidence in breast imaging and women's health, TAMS highlighted a new and exclusive ultrasound technique known as MicroPure, which it said is helping physicians detect breast lesions and micro-calcifications more clearly.

Toshiba also has been showcasing its new 18 MHz high-resolution Dynamic Micro Slice transducer for breast imaging, along with its quantitative sonoelastography suite, ElastoQ, as a work in progress.

"Increasing the ability to use ultrasound to image the breast is a significant development," said Gordon Parhar, director of Toshiba's Ultrasound Business Unit. "We believe these advances will benefit many women across the country."

The company said MicroPure is helping physicians detect micro-calcifications using ultrasound, an imaging technique that is less strenuous on the technician and the patient than mammography, the current gold standard.

ElastoQ is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that evaluates tumors based on their stiffness (elasticity) compared to normal tissue. The tissue is examined while it is slightly compressed and decompressed. Cancerous tissue tends to have a significantly lower elasticity than healthy tissue.

Toshiba said the 18 MHz Dynamic Micro Slice transducer offers "very precise focusing in all directions and a high versatility for a variety of clinical applications."

The new transducer is available on the Toshiba Aplio XG Version 3.0 and above.

In addition to showcasing breast imaging techniques, Toshiba is highlighting its new Spatio-Temporal Image Correlation (STIC) gating technique to assess the fetal heart. Using STIC, data is acquired via an automatic volume acquisition capturing a high number of 2-D frames in a volume set. The resulting volume image displays a loop of the beating fetal heart.

The company said that because there is 3-D information behind each frame, scan planes can be moved, rotated and manipulated.

Toshiba America also has been showcasing new digital upgrades for the Infinix VF-i/BP Vascular X-ray system at its RSNA exhibit space. The digital upgrades include an improved user interface, processor upgrade to the new Dual Xeon Server PC and a mid-size, high-resolution 12" x 12" detector panel (work in progress).

"Our new digital upgrades for the Infinix VF-i/BP will help customers streamline workflow and improve patient outcomes, without compromising image quality or the unparalleled patient access they expect from Infinix," said Robert Micer, director of TAMS' X-ray Vascular Business Unit. "Our improved user interface will make it easier for physicians to view tableside images, while the mid-size 12" x 12" detector panel offers more coverage without limiting patient access."

Developed based on the popular Infinix-i series platform, the Infinix VF-i/BP is a floor-mounted frontal/ceiling-mounted lateral biplane system featuring multi-axis positioners with unique movement capabilities. These features allow physicians to complete procedures quickly and comfortably, reducing procedure times and improving overall departmental workflow.

Medicsight, Ziosoft in partnership

Medicsight (London), a developer of computer-aided detection (CAD) and image analysis software, reported a new global partnership with Ziosoft (Redwood City, California), a developer of 3-D advanced visualization and analysis technology.

Combined Ziosoft-Medicsight products for the detection of colorectal polyps will be distributed through the Ziosoft network. Both companies are presenting at RSNA.

Ziosoft is a market leader for 3-D workstations. In 2007 the company had an installed base of more than 1,500 3-D systems.

The companies are working together to integrate Medicsight's ColonCAD with Ziosoft's Ziostation, and the product is due for global launch early in 2009. U.S. launch will follow clearance by the FDA, also expected in early 2009.

Medicsight also reported presenting a study abstract at the meeting demonstrating that CAD increased the sensitivity for the detection of colorectal cancers in multi-row detector CT (MDCT) colonography (CTC) and that when both expert and non-expert CTC readers used CAD, it increased their sensitivity in detecting colorectal cancers.

Also on the exhibit floor

• Alioscopy USA (San Diego), a developer of a wide range of 3-D technology products and services, has been demonstrating its 3DHD auto-stereoscopic (no glasses required) 3D LCD display and content creation technology at the RSNA meeting.

"Alioscopy USA is attending RSNA ... to show how its powerful autostereoscopic display technology and content creation solutions and services can deliver one of the most immersive and visually compelling ways for the medical diagnostic and radiology community to create and visualize anything from a cellular model to a fully animated 3-D surgery or chemotherapy procedure," said CEO Philippe Roche. "The ultimate benefit is an easy way to create state-of-the-art 3-D visualizations that aid educational, diagnostic and patient understanding."

In development over the past 14 years, Alioscopy's 3-D display product features a specialized lenticular lens that boasts quality, clarity and image depth, resulting in an immersive experience for the viewer. Displays are available in a 24" (portable) and 40" LCD monitor model and can offer content in two, four or eight views.

• Compressus (Washington), developer of products for the interoperability of disparate healthcare IT systems, reported at RSNA the first installation its next-generation MEDxConnect version 2.5, with the completion of an interoperability implementation at Seattle Radiologists (Seattle).

The installation of a single enterprise-wide worklist solution, integrating digital imaging and data management systems at multiple SeaRad sites, featured full integration with GE Centricity PACS.

"Interoperability is the buzz word across the industry, but few vendors actually have a real product and the experience to be able to deliver the functionality and breadth needed to achieve real interoperability," said Uresh Patel, MD, neuroradiologist at Seattle Radiologists. "We found that MEDxConnect was the only comprehensive solution that offers all of these benefits without having to involve other third party vendors or supplement with manual intervention."

• PACSGEAR (Pleasanton, California), a developer of document and multimedia connectivity solutions for PACS/EHR, has introduced PacsSCAN Film for Mammography, an application designed for digitizing film-based mammography images.

The PacsSCAN Film for Mammography System scans plain film mammograms and allows side-by-side comparison with digital mammography images.

The product improves radiologists' reading times by employing the DICOM Digital Mammography standard, which enables the correct sequencing of scanned images on digital mammography workstations.

Scanned images can be enhanced by using the company's Dynamic Contrast Algorithm (DCA), which gives scanned film a digital look and feel. The PacsSCAN Film for Mammography software can be configured to display scanned images at the same resolution as their digital counterparts.