A Medical Device Daily

One company that always unveils a host of new products at the American College of Cardiology (ACC; Bethesda, Maryland) annual meeting, GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin), continued that trend with a host of announcements this week.

In one, the company said it has developed a cardiology imaging application designed to deliver advanced cardiac analysis tools using on demand access to a fully integrated cardiology and radiology imaging enterprise.

This application, Centricity Cardiology CA 1000, can act as a dedicated modality workstation, a departmental solution when combined with archive systems or an enterprise-wide solution with Centricity PACS.

Radiology and cardiology have traditionally used department-dedicated PACS, which can inhibit clinician access to important patient data and images.

Using GE's new CA 1000 solution, caregivers now have access to a single, comprehensive patient jacket for both radiology and cardiology images without compromising the deep clinical tools and workflow needed in the cardiac department, according to Peter McClennen, global general manager, GE Healthcare Imaging and Information Systems.

"The CA 1000 is a single IT investment with multi-modality and enterprise capabilities," said McClennen. "Combined with Centricity PACS, it streamlines cardiac workflow and eases administrative and maintenance needs for the facilities."

Centricity CA 1000 is fully scalable so the workstation can be adapted to different facility needs and is now available globally.

In another piece of GE Healthcare news, the company reported the first cardiology-specific installation of its next- generation volume computed tomography (CT) scanner, the LightSpeed VCT. This marks the first installation utilized exclusively for cardiac applications by a cardiologist, the company said.

The installation occurred at Round Rock Cardiology (Round Rock, Texas), an independent cardiology practice near Austin.

The LightSpeed VCT, which the company is billing as "the world's first volume CT system," is designed to enable cardiologists to capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in five heartbeats, something it said no other CT system can offer.

"GE listened to luminary cardiologists and customers who told us that imaging the heart in five or fewer beats was an urgent clinical need," said Laura King, global vice president, interventional, cardiology and surgery at GE Healthcare. "The LightSpeed VCT is the only technology capable of 5-Beat Cardiac, and GE is the only company to build our technology for physicians, based on their clinical needs, from the ground up."

In a single rotation, the LightSpeed VCT creates 64 submillimeter images, totaling 40 mm of anatomical coverage, which are combined to form a 3-D view of the patient's anatomy for the physician to analyze.

"The LightSpeed VCT is a culmination of GE's more than 25 years of experience," said King. "Our innovative technologies designed to address the clinical needs of our customers are enhancing physician efficiency and patient care. Simply put, the LightSpeed VCT will help cardiologists treat more patients more effectively."

The system has the capability to attain 43-millisecond temporal resolution, which means physicians can effectively freeze the motion of the heart in a scan and secure extremely high-quality images of coronary arteries in submillimeter detail.

The company also introduced its new Vivid 7 Dimension cardiovascular ultrasound system, which it calls the world's first fully integrated, real-time 4-D system with multi-dimensional imaging capabilities. Vivid 7 Dimension, the newest member of the Vivid 7 family, provides clinicians with new tools for detecting and diagnosing heart disease.

Vivid 7 Dimension allows for new echocardiography acquisition, reconstruction and analysis techniques that enable physicians to view images in multiple planes simultaneously, the company said.

GE Healthcare also unveiled cardiac imaging techniques developed with the world's first high-definition magnetic resonance (HDMR) system.

HDMR provides physicians with what the company called "unprecedented image clarity" of patients who are difficult to image due to movement, including Parkinson's patients who suffer from uncontrollable patient motion and children who do not respond to sedation."

In addition, HDMR is enabling physicians to consistently perform highly targeted studies of diabetic patients with lower blood flow to the lower legs.

In other ACC product news:

Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) reported at the meeting that it has received 510(k) clearance from the FDA to market the new Acuson AcuNav 8F ultrasound catheter.

The new catheter, sized at 8 Fr, is 33% smaller in the cross-sectional area than the existing AcuNav 10F catheter and enables improved access in all patients, particularly smaller patients for left heart applications in electrophysiology and interventional cardiology.

According to clinical evaluators of the AcuNav 8F catheter, the smaller size coupled with the same high resolution and depth of imaging as the existing AcuNav 10F catheter is a significant improvement and allows access to a wider range of patients.

"The size and flexibility of the new catheter were very impressive and provided us with improved visualization of defects with less trauma to the patients," said Ziyad Hijazi, MD, section chief of pediatric cardiology and professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Chicago. "During evaluation, I performed two atrial septal defect closure procedures and one patent foramen ovale procedure on a total of three patients, two being quite small, and the third weighing just over 260 pounds. With the 8F, I was able to get spectacular images of clinical significance with no problem at all."

The new, smaller catheter provides visualization of vascular and cardiac anatomy and physiology, measurement of blood flow and visualization of other devices throughout the entire heart.

In addition to the 8F catheter, the company will highlight a new approach to optimizing ultrasound imaging using patient specific tissue characteristics called Native patient specific imaging technology. Patient specific imaging technology, which is part of the Encompass release for the Sequoia platform, not only offers instant optimization for each individual patient's blood flow, but also significantly reduces keystrokes with hands-free gain control to streamline workflow and improve user ergonomics.

The company also demonstrated new advancements on the Acuson CV70 cardiovascular system, including the P9-4(1) pediatric transducer and fourSight view for integrated 3-D transesophageal imaging.

PDSHeart (Conyers, Georgia), a leader in cardiac monitoring and arrhythmia management services, introduced a new auto detection atrial fibrillation (AF) monitor.

The new Dual Alert monitor uses proprietary algorithms to detect and record asymptomatic arrhythmias.

"The advanced algorithms in our monitor makes it the most sensitive and accurate AF event recorder in the industry," said Sean Heyniger, president and CEO of PDSHeart. "The new Dual Alert AF Monitor identifies more asymptomatic patients than was ever possible. Early detection coupled with anticoagulation therapy will greatly reduce the increased risks for AF patients."

He added, "The Dual Alert AF has already shown great results identifying hard to detect arrhythmias. We are committed to improving patient outcomes and reducing costs, this is a valuable tool for physicians to use and truly complements our current product offerings."