• Carl Zeiss Meditec (Dublin, California) highlighted its refractive laser technologies for correction of vision defects at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting, Nov. 11-14 in Las Vegas. The technologies shown included the Mel 80 Excimer Laser System, which recently received FDA clearance for vision correction eye surgery. The FDA clinical trials for the MEL 80 show that 93% of patients were corrected at three months to 20/20 or better visual acuity, and 41% were corrected to 20/12.5 or better at six months. Additionally, 85% of patients achieved within one-half of a diopter of the intended correction at three months postoperative follow up. Carl Zeiss Meditec recently filed for 510(k) approval of its femtosecond laser system, and anticipates clearance in the second half of 2007. The company’s femtosecond laser is designed to provide smooth, precise flap cutting capability.

• Maquet Critical Care (Solna, Sweden) reported the introduction of NAVA (Neurally Adjusted Ventilatory Assist) to the general public at the world’s largest medical trade fair, MEDICA 2006 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Maquet Critical Care’s SERVO-i ventilator with NAVA is a new approach to mechanical ventilation which allows the patient to control the ventilator with his/her respiratory center. The NAVA approach to mechanical ventilation is based on the patient’s neural respiratory output. Signals from the respiratory control center in the brain are transmitted through the phrenic nerve to the diaphragm, where a catheter captures the electrical activity and feeds it to the ventilator. The ventilator responds by providing the requested level of support to the patient. As the ventilator and diaphragm work with the same signal, the coupling between the two is virtually instantaneous.

• Merge eMed (Milwaukee), a Merge Healthcare company, said that it will unveil its newest technology solutions at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA; Oak Brook, Illinois), Nov. 26-Dec. 1 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Merge eMed will show software that is relevant to increasing productivity and driving new referrals for imaging businesses. The company said it will show its premier new solution, Fusion RIS/PACS MX, which it said is imaging informatics offering moves beyond the simple integration of RIS and PACS applications, delivering a single system that is relevant to the entire spectrum of imaging business needs. From a single screen, its “Radiologist Command Center” provides point-and-click access to all patient-related information and images, thus eliminating delays and frustrations from toggling and interfacing between disparate applications. The company will showcase its 64-bit capabilities in Fusion PACS MX (formerly Matrix PACS(TM), which enables extremely fast simultaneous loading of thousands of images.

• North American Scientific (Chatsworth, California), maker of brachytherapy sources, said it has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market the high-dose rate radiation treatment design of ClearPath, its breast brachytherapy product introduced this month at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Philadelphia. The company received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market the low-dose rate system, ClearPath CR, in April. The product is designed to enhance current accelerated partial breast irradiation treatment options, an estimated $500 million U.S. market. Brachytherapy, or internal radiation therapy, makes use of radioactive sources or seeds and has emerged as one of the most common treatments for prostate cancer.

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