A Medical Device Daily

Last week's European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna, Austria, one of Europe's largest radiological gatherings, featured a number of companies reporting new agreements, appointments and product developments.

Royal Philips Electronics' Philips Medical Systems (Best, the Netherlands) unveiled what it termed a “breakthrough“ positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) system at the ECR meeting in Vienna.

The company said its Gemini TF is the first PET system to use atomic particle time measurements to deliver increased image quality and consistency, helping earlier disease detection in patients.

Philips noted that in a conventional PET system, a decaying radioactive agent is injected into the patient. “As each nucleus decays, it releases a positron that immediately collides with an electron, releasing two gamma rays that travel away from the collision zone at 180 degrees from each other,“ the company said in a statement.

It said these pairs of gamma rays are observed by the PET scanner, which uses this information to calculate where the agent is concentrated, thus creating an image of the affected area. “Although the gamma rays in each pair arrive at slightly different times depending on their origination, this is not traditionally measured,“ the company said. “With time-of-flight, this time difference can be measured, enabling the point of origination to be more accurately predicted and leading to much more accurate imaging.“

Philips said the advantages of the technology have been previously demonstrated in a research environment, but that it is the first healthcare technology provider to translate these benefits into a solution for consistent and reliable clinical use.

Gemini TF is the world's first commercially available time-of-flight PET/CT system, in which gamma rays are more accurately tracked using minute time measurements. The company said the system raises effective image sensitivity by more than two times over conventional PET.

Image acquisition is shortened to less than 10 minutes for a whole-body PET scan, Philips said, even for larger patients, who had previously needed additional scan time. As with all Gemini PET/CT systems, Gemini TF also features the company's OpenView gantry design, allowing for increased patient comfort.

“This addition to our portfolio demonstrates . . . our ability to translate [our] expertise into clinical solutions which integrate seamlessly into the patient care cycle,“ said Peter Cempellin, general manager of Philips Medical's PET/CT Division. “GEMINI TF is a step-change for PET, delivering greatly improved performance and with it the possibility of earlier detection of disease and earlier treatment for patients in the future.“

Philips said the combined benefits of faster sampling, longer useful imaging times from short-lived isotopes and the use of new low-efficiency tracers would “significantly increase the utility of PET/CT for every healthcare stakeholder.“

It said the technology “opens the pathway“ to molecular imaging applications of the future.

Eastman Kodak (Rochester, New York) and BUPA Hospitals Ltd. reported an agreement under which Kodak's Health Group will support BUPA's 26 hospitals across the UK in transitioning to digital medical imaging and information management.

The agreement will involve the deployment of Kodak's Carestream Radiology Solution and Enterprise Information Management Solution platforms.

These platforms, BUPA said, will facilitate the generation and storage of patients' radiology images, as well as the remote reporting of radiology exams within and among the company's hospitals.

Kodak will support the deployment with a range of professional services in conjunction with the transition, including project management, implementation and training.

The company said its patient-focused platforms would provide transition for the current diagnostic workload, plus a rapidly scaleable infrastructure for future diagnostic service expansion.

A BUPA Data Center will provide the hub for a clinical repository for long-term image storage and to support image sharing among the 26 hospitals, plus secure web reporting across the BUPA network.

Local picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) will be deployed at each hospital to provide digital image capture from hospital modalities, local diagnostic reporting and web distribution of images.

Implementation across BUPA hospitals will begin upon completion of site surveys at the end of this month followed by a phased rollout.

“The ability to share and display digital patient images between clinical sites will help us to maintain our high-quality patient care and improve radiologist workflow,“ said Clare Hollingsworth, managing director of BUPA Hospitals Ltd.

Ian Marron, director of e-health solutions for Kodak's Europe, Africa & Middle East Region, said the selection by BUPA of the company's e-health solution “is a great endorsement for our integrated radiology solution.“

Kodak's PACS, radiology information systems and storage management solutions are deployed at healthcare facilities around the world, including more than 250 sites across the European Union.

In another company announcement at the ECR meeting, Zonare Medical Systems (Mountain View, California) said Cornel Schoelgens was joining the company as managing director-Europe. Schoelgens has more than 20 years' experience in diagnostic imaging, most recently as managing director for SonoSite in Germany. Zonare Medical Systems is a developer of ultrasound technology.

CE mark for HemCon bandage

HemCon (Portland, Oregon) said it has received the European CE mark for its hemorrhage control bandage. The company said that since the U.S. Army began issuing the bandage to all of its front line troops, international demand for the bandage has been strong.

With receipt of the certification, HemCon said it would be positioned to begin distributing into countries requiring the CE marking, including the UK, Germany and the rest of the EU.

“The U.S. military has proven that the HemCon bandage is a safe and highly effective product in controlling severe battlefield hemorrhage. It has been documented to have saved dozens of soldiers' lives without causing any adverse effects,“ said President and CEO John Morgan.

He said receipt of the CE mark by the company “will now allow us to increase our market presence to other key nations.“

HemCon also reported that it has earned ISO 13485:2003 certification, the international quality management standard for designers and manufacturers of medical devices.

The HemCon Bandage is designed for use by first responders in military, emergency medical and other out-of-hospital environments where the rapid control of bleeding is critical.

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