ACC 2005 Wrap-up

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In between a clinical study indicating that a quarter of Americans are resistant to aspirin's anti-platelet effects and a press release clarifying that only chocolate bars made by Mars (that preserve naturally occurring cocoa flavanols in cocoa beans) are heart-healthy - cardiac CT stole the limelight at March's annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando. Advances in 64-slice CT systems were showcased by GE, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba, while all touted new cardiac-focused installations in leading-edge medical centers across the country. Cardiac image and information management systems and echocardiography units also gained mindshare. (By the way, chocolate bars show promise in maintaining healthy blood flow and improved elasticity in blood vessels, so grab a Dove bar and enjoy!)

Biosound Esaote showcased new software available for its MyLab30CV high-performance, portable ultrasound system. The 19-pound ultrasound system is capable of meeting all diagnostic requirements in cardiovascular applications, including adult and pediatric scanning in the hospital setting, NICU and outreach programs. Image quality is suitable at the critical-care bedside, MPTE in the operating room, stress echo in the office or whole body imaging for the mobile service. Adding to its line of diagnostic, portable ultrasound systems, Biosound Esaote also unveiled MyLab25 targeted for vascular laboratories.

Digirad Corp. displayed a prototype of its all-in-one, mobile triple head cardiac gamma camera. The Cardius-3M AIO is the mobile prototype of Digirad's Cardius-3 imager. The prototype's all-in-one chassis supports the camera, chair and acquisition processing station on a single frame, Digirad said. The system is designed for exclusive use by Digirad Imaging Solutions (DIS), Digirad's imaging leasing services division.

GE Healthcare touted enhancements to its cath lab, IT and MRI platforms, and announced its first cardiac CT installation.

The first cardiology-specific installation of GE's next-generation volume computed tomography scanner, the LightSpeed VCT has been installed at Round Rock Cardiology, an independent cardiology practice near Austin, Texas. The LightSpeed VCT 64-slice CT scanner enables cardiologists to capture images of the heart and coronary arteries in five heartbeats. It also allows the imaging of any body organ in one second and can perform a whole body trauma scan in less than 10 seconds. In one rotation, the system creates 64 submillimeter images, totally 40 mm of anatomical coverage. It has the capability to attain 43 millisecond temporal resolution. GE said it had installed four LightSpeed VCT's to date and is installing one per week around the world in 2005.

Enhancements to the Innova 4100 and Innova 3100 cardiovascular and interventional imaging systems incorporate a new automated imaging technique called InnovaBreeze that GE says allows physicians to more clearly see the vessels and anatomy from the stomach down through the legs. During imaging, the table moves to follow an injection of contrast media.

On the IT front, GE showcased the Centricity Cardiology CA 1000 that can act as a dedicated modality workstation, a departmental solution when combined with an archive system or an enterprise-wide solution with Centricity PACS. Using CA 1000, caregivers can now access a single, comprehensive patient jacket for both radiology and cardiology images without compromising depth of clinical tools and workflow needed in the cardiac department.

GE also announced a new version of its CardioSoft multi-function cardiac testing software, which can capture ECG data and enables physicians to update the EMR patient record with critical cardiac data. CardioSoft software, which will be available this spring, provides seamless integration with GE's Centricity Physician Office - Electronic Medial Record (CPO-EMR) system.
New cardiac imaging techniques developed with the high-definition magnetic resonance (HDMR) system also were showcased at ACC. HDMR, available on GE Signa 1.5T and 3.0T MR systems, is helpful with difficult-to-image patients due to movement, including Parkinson's patients and children who do not respond to sedation.

Heartlab, Inc. previewed its new Ascentia cardiovascular information system that provides multimodality image analysis tools, digital reporting, and secure portal access to patient records delivered via a web-based technology. Ascentia Portal delivers diagnostic-quality