A Medical Device Daily

ORLANDO, Florida – The annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology (ACC; Bethesda, Maryland) feature the usual large volume of new product offerings from companies both large and small.

One firm making a host of announcements was Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), which unveiled new products and technologies that it said are specifically designed for the cardiology market to enhance patient care and comfort, as well as to increase imaging capabilities and improve interoperability and efficiency for clinicians.

One product, the Philips IntelliVue Telemetry system, is designed to enhance a patient's freedom to walk around or rest in bed comfortably while maintaining uninterrupted cardiac monitoring. The system includes Smart-Hopping technology, which is designed to minimize interference and seeks out the strongest available signal to achieve seamless connection and clinical data transmission as patients move within the hospital. It is designed to co-exist with the hospital's existing wireless infrastructures.

The system operates on the IntelliVue Clinical Network, a framework for seamless information management and more flexible patient monitoring – all designed to increase clinical efficiency and improve patient outcomes.

Also being demonstrated at ACC is a new fusion technology that allows 3-D computed tomography images to be transferred to the Philips Allura Xper FD cardiovascular X-ray system. This may dramatically improve visualization and, therefore, treatment planning, for patients who need to undergo more invasive procedures such as stent placement.

In addition, Philips' Comprehensive Cardiac Analysis (CCA) tool may help to simplify procedures and assessment for clinicians and improve diagnostic confidence. The software solution provides many new visualization tools aiming to substantially reduce the time and the complexity involved in a cardiac CT evaluation. The clinical advantages of Philips CVCT technologies allow computed tomography to better meet clinical needs, such as advanced stent planning, and bring new functionality to cardiovascular CT imaging. Based on total heart segmentation, Philips CCA delivers in-depth visualization of the entire coronary tree for more precise planning and treatment decisions.

Philips also is introducing the newest member to the Allura Xper family of flat detector (FD) systems – the Allura Xper FD10/10. This biplane cardiovascular X-ray system is designed for a full range of applications, from interventional cardiology, electrophysiology to pediatric cardiology, including customized settings for each application.

Heartlab (Westerly, Rhode Island) is previewing its new Ascentia cardiovascular information system. The company said the Ascentia line provides a complete package of advanced multimodality image analysis tools, comprehensive digital reporting, and secure portal access to patient records delivered via a web-based technology that improves access and reduces system administration.

The Ascentia Portal is designed to deliver diagnostic-quality DICOM images to virtually any PC on the Internet/ intranet. Heartlab's new compression-on-demand technology delivers more than 10 different levels of lossless and lossy compression on the fly directly from the original images in the DICOM archive. Storing additional compressed copies of images has been totally eliminated.

Ascentia WorkStation enables access to diagnostic-quality images and robust review tools for multiple cardiology and vascular imaging exams. Ascentia Results Management offers tightly integrated, structured reporting which allows physicians to create reports digitally while reviewing cases online. Integrated reporting optimizes work-flow, decreases turnaround time of reports, and improves information management.

Also, as a work-in-progress, Heartlab will be showing the Ascentia HeartStation to handle digital ECG management for electrocardiograms from any vendor's ECG equipment. With HeartStation, ECG studies are stored, read, interpreted and archived as part of a patient's web-accessible electronic medical record.

The HeartStation combines a dynamic new user interface with the industry's best image acquisition and analysis algorithms for versatile, vendor-neutral, enterprise-wide ECG management that promotes paperless workflow for cardiology. HeartStation is easy to use, and ensures consistent, host-based interpretation of ECGs, no matter what brand of cart.

Heartlab's Ascentia WorkStation, Results Management and Portal systems all received 510(k) clearance from the FDA on Feb. 18.

In other ACC product news:

Digirad (Poway, California), a provider of solid-state medical imaging products and services to physician offices, hospitals and imaging centers, is displaying a prototype of its all-in-one, mobile triple head cardiac gamma camera.

The prototype's all-in-one chassis supports the camera, chair and acquisition processing station on a single frame.

The Cardius-3M AIO is the mobile prototype of Digirad's high-performance Cardius-3 imager, designed for exclusive use by Digirad Imaging Solutions (DIS), Digirad's imaging leasing services division.

DIS has performed more than 89,000 nuclear cardiology studies in 2004 in physician offices and hospitals, using primarily Digirad's mobile single head cameras. The Cardius-3 imaging system produces excellent image quality and is capable of sub-7 minute stress acquisitions, allowing higher count images to be completed in less time.

"We designed this mobile prototype of our triple head gamma camera to allow us to introduce our Cardius-3 technology to our DIS customers," said David Sheehan, president and CEO. "Testing of the mobile prototype is now underway to provide us with data concerning the workflow and operational efficiencies of the Cardius-3 system in a mobile environment. We believe that this new, single chassis may become a smaller-footprint platform for all of our Cardius product-line cameras."

Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, Pennsylvania) said it would showcase its latest integrated cardiology solutions, encompassing early detection, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, at the meeting.

New technologies that Siemens is showcasing at this week's meeting include Soarian Cardiology Diagnostic Workstation and Disease Management, and Acuson AcuNav 8F ultrasound catheter.

• Vital Images (Minneapolis), a provider of enterprise-wide advanced visualization software, is introducing ViTALCardia, a technology solution designed specifically for cardiologists. ViTALCardia includes high-powered software for diagnosis as well as a Web-based thin-client distribution technology to provide access to images throughout the cardiology enterprise.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, California) is offering ViTALCardia to its customers in conjunction with its new Aquilion 64 CFX multislice CT scanner. Vital Images is demonstrating ViTALCardia at Toshiba's booth at the meeting.

Vital said that ViTALCardia encompasses several high-performance Vitrea applications including: coronary vessel analysis, cardiac functional analysis, calcium scoring and peripheral vessel analysis. Like Version 3.5, this software includes capabilities for viewing 2-D, 3-D and 4-D cardiac images of the heart.