Medical Device Daily Associate

PARIS – The EuroPCR meeting, which has drawn a throng estimated at about 10,000 to the Palais de Congr s, is one of the few medical meetings in which industry and the medical field associate freely, even in event-sanctioned press conferences. Additionally, many of the conference events are sponsored by various device and pharmaceutical firms.

In that spirit, GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) reported, at a press conference of its own, on the introduction of a new cardiovascular imaging system that it believes will enhance clinicians’ ability to diagnose and treat heart disease and enable more precise placement of interventional devices such as stents, balloons and filters.

The device, called the Innova 2100IQ, was unveiled here for the first time in the Salon Room of the adjoining Concorde de Lafayette Hotel.

The company said the Innova 2100IQ is capable of imaging the finest vessels and anatomy of the heart during placement of interventional devices. The new system is expected to play a critical role in helping clinicians treat a growing number of chronic heart and vascular conditions including atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque that affects blood flow in arteries.

According to the American Heart Association (Dallas), atherosclerosis causes hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes each year and accounts for nearly three-fourths of all U.S. deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Specifically, the device is what the company called a “state-of-the-art cardiac X-ray system that enables cardiologists to clearly visualize fine vessels from the heart to the legs both during diagnostic procedures and during placement of interventional devices.” Developed in partnership with a team of interventional cardiologists, GE said it designed the Innova 2100IQ based on current clinical needs in the cardiac cath lab.

According to Laura King, vice president of global interventional, cardiology and surgery for GE Healthcare, this new system fits in nicely with the company’s focus on performance imaging, “making sure that we can see all parts of the body.”

She noted that the company is dedicated to developing technologies that improve the entire patient experience, from early and more accurate diagnosis to better treatment and management of diseases like atherosclerosis.

“We’ve completed more than two dozen clinical studies which demonstrate Innova’s superior image quality,” said King. “The Innova 2100IQ sets a new standard in cardiac image quality and enables cardiologists to visualize human vasculature more clearly than ever before.”

Speaking from the physician’s point of view was during the GE session was Stanley Katz, MD, chief of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital (Manhasset, New York).

Katz, an interventional cardiologist for a quarter-century and a user of GE imaging equipment for nearly 15 years, said he feels fortunate to have witnessed all of the innovations that have occurred over the last 25 years “that have helped us treat patients in a much better way.”

While he said that it is pretty routine procedure now to put in stents, “there are situations where it is much more difficult.”

At North Shore, he noted that his group treats a large volume of heart attack patients, nearly 300 a year, which is one of the larger programs in the country, “and that’s where things become critical. If you have a good team, good skills and good equipment, you can reverse the process literally within half an hour.”

Katz said one of the biggest challenges in interventional cardiology today is clearly visualizing the finest vessels and intricate anatomy of the human heart. “The Innova 2100IQ addresses this challenge by providing enhanced image quality, which enables cardiologists to more precisely perform lifesaving operations on patients with heart disease.”

The new system incorporates flat-panel technology, and Katz said his hospital was one of the first to get a system from GE that incorporated that feature back in 1999, what he said was “truly an innovation,” which GE spent nearly 10 years developing.

When North Shore got the first flat-panel device in the cath lab, he said it was a night-and-day difference.

“I was trying to think how to explain this to a lay audience, and I would say it’s the difference between VHS tape and the DVD, or high definition television.”

Another advantage to using the GE products, said Katz, who also is on the company’s medical advisory board, is that it is the only company that owns its platform technology. “The competition uses third-party products, and for me that was important, because I know that the company will devote the right kind of resources to push this product to the next level – and I believe that the 2100 is the next level.”

Importantly, he noted that the system uses less radiation than the standard X-ray system, “so that there’s less radiation exposure not only to the patient but to the physician, who performs many of these procedures a day, as well as the staff, technologist and nurses who work in the cath lab.”

Another great feature cited by Katz is tableside control, which gives the physician much greater control over all the features of the device. “In a low-volume lab, that’s not [such an] important feature, [but] in a high-volume lab where you want to get where you want to quickly, it is a great addition, allowing the physician to look into every aspect of the procedure.”

He said GE Healthcare has turned the X-ray imaging marketplace upside down, “because everyone [else] has to catch up with flat-panel technology.”