Siemens shows a unified loop of cardiovascular technologies at ACC
Siemens Medical Solutions closed the gap between old and new at this week's American College of Cardiology Conference, March 6 - 8, in Orlando, Fla., showing the tried-and-true anchors of cardiovascular imaging - echo and cardiac cath - as well as shed some light on the promises of cardiac CT and MR.  
Siemens highlighted technologies developed specifically for the cath lab, including the AXIOM Artis dFC magnetic navigation system, which combines a digital fluoroscopic imaging system - the AXIOM Artis dFC - with Stereotaxis Inc.'s Niobe magnetic navigation system. The system uses computer-controlled permanent magnets external to the body for orienting the magnetic tip of specially designed catheters and guidewires.
The AXIOM Artis dBC is a flexible cardiac and angiography system for diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac interventions. The Artis dBC is a biplane C-arm system equipped with new digital flat-panel detectors in both planes, which enables the system to reach all imaging speeds necessary for cardiology procedures and interventions.
The AXIOM Artis dTC is a digital cardiac imaging system, also equipped with flat-panel detector (FD) technology, and is supported by a ceiling-mounted C-arm for greater accessibility.
In cardiac CT, Siemens exhibited the new SOMATOM Sensation 64 that allows 64 slices per rotation and 0.37 second rotation time to offer speed and sub-millimeter volume coverage. Siemens said that 200 64-slice CT systems have been installed, 80 of which include the Somatom Sensation Cardiac64 in hospitals' cardiovascular departments or institutions specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Siemens also recently announced the first outcomes of Speed4D technology. Speed4D includes the Straton x-ray tube, WorkStream4D for workflow optimization and data handling, syngo InSpace4D for evaluation of the moving heart, and CARE Dose4D for automated real-time dose adaptation. The latter is an initiative to reduce radiation exposure in CT examinations, Siemens said. The CARE Dose4D analyzes the cross-sectional anatomy of each individual patient in real-time and adjusts the emitted x-ray dose accordingly, without the need for user interaction or an additional topogram to determine the patient attenuation.
In cardiac MR, Siemens demonstrated the Magnetom Avanto, a 1.5T MR system that incorporates total imaging matrix (Tim) technology. Tim is a whole body surface coil design with 76 integrated coil elements and up to 32 channels [76x32], and its integrated coil weighs less than two pounds. It also features Siemens iPAT (integrated Parallel Acquisition Technique), which offers fast image acquisition with parallel imaging in all dimensions, including head to toe, front to back, and side to side.
In addition, Siemens highlighted its self-gating MR technology that eliminates the need for wires and electrodes to be attached to the patient. The technology optimizes visualization, allowing cardiologists to better plan for procedures, such as angioplasty, and prevent further cardiac illness, Siemens said.
Siemens announced new capabilities for the Acuson Sequoia C512 and C256 echocardiography systems. The Paragon release for both echo systems offers patient-specific imaging through TE ultrasound technology for Doppler, the automatic optimization of scale, baseline, gain and dynamic range for Doppler spectral images on all patient types. In addition, two-dimensional (2D) imaging can be optimized for gain and brightness for individual patients. TEQ technology is available on every transducer.
Additional performance enhancements that make up the Paragon release include fourSigh TEE view for the V5M transducer, which is designed to provide physicians easier access to 3D/4D images. The on-board method provides simple acquisition, review, manipulation and dynamic display capabilities of gated 3D datasets using the V5M TEE transducer for 3D surface or multiplanar reconstruction. This provides physicians a more detailed, anatomical display of the heart and clinical disease process.
For nuclear medicine cardiovascular imaging, Siemens showcased its reclining dedicated cardiac gamma camera system. The gamma camera incorporates e.soft, Siemens syngo-based nuclear medicine software that meets the high-throughput and high quality demands of cardiology practices. For post-processing, Siemens e.soft@LEONARDO Workplace integrates more than 50 syngo-based multimodality imaging applications within one user interface and is incorporated with the wide-ranging nuclear medicine capabilities of the company's e.soft package.  

Siemens previewed as a works-in-progress KinetDx Solutions Network Version 4.0. A key highlight of the new software is a feature that allows physicians and sonographers to create patient reports utilizing an evidence-based method of diagnosis, in addition to new report upload file formats, and cardiac measurement transfer capabilities for the Acuson Cypress cardiovascular system.
The KinetDx Solutions 4.0 incorporates a new reporting feature that is intended to allow physicians to integrate observational data with their experiential wisdom to produce more objective, results-oriented findings. Data generated by the sonographer during the exam acquisition can be used to automatically create clinical information. By reading physicians' work from an assessment page, the system can turn observational data into evidence-based data that automatically populates the final report.
The feature is expected to eliminate the time a sonographer spends manually creating worksheets for physicians, reduce reading time for physicians, and ultimately increase the accuracy of final reports.
The KinetDx Solutions 4.0 also is expected to allow physicians to upload final reports to a hospital information system (HIS) or cardiology information system (CIS) using a variety of new report formats, helping some cardiology departments eliminate the need for a previously required broker.
The Cypress cardiovascular system will now have the capability to transfer cardiac measurements and calculations, eliminating the need for a hand-written worksheet.
Additionally, the KinetDx system now offers an increased redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) capacity for fast, rapid access of ultrasound exams, enabling institutions to cost-effectively increase their on-line storage capacity.
Furthermore, the KinetDx exam export to DICOM CD-ROM feature allows users to export ultrasound exams to a CD, giving patients the option of having CD copies of their exams for visits to referral sites or when seeking a second opinion.
Lastly, Siemens announced it has received U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance to market the new Acuson AcuNav 8F ultrasound catheter.
The new catheter, sized at eight French, is 33 percent 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, Siemens said.
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.
The AcuNav 8F catheter is currently available on the Sequoia ultrasound platforms, the Acuson CV70 cardiovascular system and the Acuson Cypress cardiovascular system.