AMI Semiconductor (Pocatello, Idaho), a manufacturer of integrated mixed-signal and structured digital products, has formed a technology design and supply partnership with Interventional Rhythm Management (IRM; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina), a specialist cardiology company focused on the management of patients with cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. AMI will provide custom, low-power mixed-signal ASIC solutions that will be used in IRM's design for cardiac electrophysiology devices such as implantable defibrillators and pacemakers. IRM's design allows defibrillators and pacemakers to be completely introduced and implanted within the vascular system without major surgery. The company's initial product will be an intravascular implantable defibrillator (IID) designed for the primary prevention of sudden cardiac death. A key element of this and future products will be turnkey, low-power ASIC solutions from AMI that ensure extended battery life without compromising functionality, in addition to offering options for low-data rate wireless communications within the MICS medical communications band.

Delphi Medical Systems (Troy, Michigan) signed a worldwide licensing agreement to manufacture and market vital signs monitors using cardiac technologies and products from Inovise Medical (Newberg, Oregon). Delphi Medical Systems will integrate and distribute Inovise's Audicor software and sensors in its vital signs monitors, and manufacture and market these products for use at home or in alternate sites as well as in hospitals and clinics. Audicor combines automated heart sound detection and analysis with advanced electrocardiography performance in a point-of-care report. The system is designed to help physicians quickly detect acute cardiac conditions, including heart failure and heart attacks, at the point-of-care, and to monitor the efficacy of treatment of those patients. Delphi Medical also will offer Audicor as an integrated feature in its vital signs monitors to original equipment manufacturers.

GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) has received a contract award from HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG; Brentwood, Tennessee). GE Healthcare said it has signed three "significant" agreements with HPG and will be a contract vendor for HPG's more than 1,500 hospitals, surgery centers, diagnostic imaging centers and physicians. The agreements, each three years in length, cover mammography, ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), MRI, positron emission tomography (PET), nuclear medicine, angiography labs, cardiac cath labs, portable and general X-ray, and radiography and fluoroscopy systems. The agreements add to the existing radiology, cardiology, bone mineral densitometry, surgical c-arms, anesthesia, infant care, and monitoring products and services that GE Healthcare already supplies to HealthTrust Purchasing Group members under other agreements.

Vital Images (Minneapolis), a provider of enterprise-wide advanced visualization software, and Toshiba Medical Systems (TMS; Tochigi, Japan), a diagnostic imaging manufacturer, have agreed to renew their U.S. and international marketing and distribution agreement for two years, through 2006. As under the previous agreement, Toshiba will offer Vital Images' Vitrea 2 software through its subsidiaries and distributors in more than 50 nations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia, except Japan. Since 2000, Toshiba has been providing Vitrea software as the advanced visualization and analysis software of choice to customers purchasing Toshiba's Aquilion and other computed tomograpy (CT) scanners. Vitrea 2 is Vital Images' newest generation of medical imaging software for diagnostic evaluation of CT and MRI data. The software features real-time navigation of 3-D volume data, permitting the user to create 2-D and 3-D views of human anatomy, and to interactively navigate within these images to better visualize and understand internal structures and disease conditions, the company said.