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Trixell (Moirans, France) says that it has boosted production capacity by 75% to keep up with worldwide demand for digital radiology (DR) detectors by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

With an investment of 115 million ($21 million), Trixell is completing construction on some 30,000 square feet for an automated manufacturing line and has expanded clean rooms to a total of 20,000 square feet. The new facility will increase 2008 production to 7,000 DR units from the current 4,000-unit capacity. Production will reach more than 10,000 units by 2010.

Trixell said it increased sales revenues by 50% over the past five years.

A joint venture between Thales Components (Totowa, New Jersey), Philips Medical Systems (Andover, Massachusetts) and Siemens Medical Solutions (Erlangen, Germany), Trixell manufactures the detectors that directly convert X-rays into digital signals, a pivotal link for the automated image processing that is fast dominating the radiology market.

Thales holds 51% of the company, while Siemens and Philips share the remaining capital.

Trixell is the only manufacturer of DR detectors in Europe, and bills itself as a world leader by sales volume with an installed base of over 8,000 detectors or 50% of the flat-panel detector sales, according to Frost & Sullivan (Palo Alto, CA).

Trixell detetors are intergrated in radiology units of 10 OEMs at nearly 3,000 medical facilities worldwide. In addition to standing agreements with Philips, Thales and Siemens, Trixell provides detectors for Kodak (Rochester, New York), Swissray International (Hochdorf, Switzerland) and CMT Medical Technologies (Valley Stream, New York).

Digital technology generates high-resolution images for enhanced medical diagnosis that significantly improves workflow and processing in radiology departments with image preview time reduced to a few seconds. The images can be readily integrated into electronic information systems for storage and create faster access for physicians.

DR also makes it possible to administer substantially lower X-ray doses, improving conditions for both patients and medical personnel.

The prices of many DR systems are considered high, some reaching $400,000, although the average selling price is now decreasing rapidly.

A flat-panel, amorphous-silicon based detector that uses thin-film transistors coated with cesium iodide (CsI), the lighter weight of the DR units have created new design opportunities, such as mobile C-arm configurations.

Using Trixell’s CsI scintillator, Thales said earlier this year that it would introduce the world’s first wi-fi-based detector, the Pixium Portable 3543 with preprocessing software to generate a 7.2 million-pixel image in less than eight seconds.

Trixell has 380 employees, of whom 100 are engineers, and the company says it invests 15% of sales in research and the development of new products.

TomTec unveils new 4D software

TomTec (Munich, Germany) has introduced a new version of its 4D RV-Function software at last week’s European Society of Cardiology congress in Vienna, Austria.

The product was introduce a year after TomTec launched the first commercially available softwarefor right ventricular analysis based on 3D ultrasound data. The company said new the 4D RV-Function software, which features routine clinical workflow, is easy to use and fast, while delivering reproducible measurements.

The company said the improvements are the results of a new workflow concept, based on software that “allows the physician to completely analyze the right ventricle just by referring to familiar anatomical structures.”

Saying that precise knowledge of right ventricular function is important in cases such as heart failure and pulmonary and congenital heart disease, TomTec said fast and accurate quantification has an “immediate impact” on managing and treating patients with such conditions.

VYOO test aims at sepsis detection

SIRS-Lab (Jena, Germany) has launched VYOO, a novel DNA-based test for the detection of sepsis pathogens. Key information for a successful antibiotic therapy is provided within six hours, the company said.

It said VYOO “combines precision, short time-to-results, and easy handling,” adding that with the “specific and fast identification of bacteria, fungi and resistances, VYOO carries significant potential to guide the antibiotic therapy in patients suffering from sepsis.”

The polymerase chain reaction-based testdetects 40 bacterial and fungal species that cause life-threatening infections. The company said five important antibiotic resistances are identified as well.

The results of 16 patients per user are provided within six hours. SIRS-Lab said international studies prove that the so-called “golden hours” of sepsis treatment are crucial for the individual prognosis of the patient.

The company said initial retrospective studies presented at last week’s Sepsis and Multi-organ Dysfunction conference in Weimar, Germany, documented an increased hit-rate and “dramatically reduced time-to-result as well as proved ease of use.”

Smart Segmentation new from Varian

Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, California) is demonstrating a range of products aimed at improving the speed and precision of radiotherapy at the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting, which runs through Thursday in Barcelona, Spain.

Among the new product introductions for the company at the conference is the Smart Segmentation feature for its Eclipse treatment planning system. Varian said Smart Segmentation is the world’s first fully automatic software tool that identifies and outlines organs and other structures of interest within diagnostic images of the thorax and male pelvis.

It said that until now, identifying structures to be irradiated or protected during radiotherapy treatments had to be done by hand.

The company also is discussing a new high-definition, multi-leaf collimator (HD120 MLC) that features increased resolution utilizing smaller leaves and is available with Varian’s Trilogy Tx medical linear accelerator, addresses the needs of stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy.

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