Industry Roundup: Agfa, GE, IntraOp, Toshiba, Vital Images
Agfa HealthCare inked a multimillion-dollar deal with Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston, W. Va., a 260-bed facility to provide Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX 6.0 PACS and the newest version of Agfa HealthCare’s reporting solution, TalkStation 3.1. The agreement also includes six DX-S CR systems, which features the company’s DirectriX needle-based detector technology and Scanhead line-to-line CR stimulation and light collection technology, for improved image quality and workflow. All three of the hospital’s facilities will be connected via Agfa’s system. This includes a new imaging center called Thomas Imaging Center that is expected to open in March 2007, at which time the integrated Agfa HealthCare RIS/PACS/Reporting and CR solution will be fully implemented and operational.

GE Healthcare introduced a new ultrasound imaging system with early diagnostic tools. This system, called the Voluson E8, is designed for advanced volume ultrasound in women’s healthcare. The Voluson E8 is the latest in the line of GE’s Voluson ultrasound platforms and includes a number of new tools including SonoVCAD (Sonography based Volume Computer Aided Diagnosis), an automated imaging tool designed to help clinicians acquire volume images of the fetal heart. This technology displays all of the 2D planes, which complies with the recommended standard screening exam of the fetal heart, as outlined by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Radiology, and the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. It includes identification of the four-chamber, left outflow tract, and right outflow tract view of the fetal heart, GE says. Other new tools available on the Voluson E8 include:
  • A new high-resolution 4D transvaginal probe that helps clinicians see and detect fetal abnormalities earlier, while also showing promise for improving diagnostic confidence in complex gynecological exams, such as early pathology diagnosis;
  • A new matrix array volume probe that improves image clarity for volume imaging and provides better visualization for 2D and multiplanar imaging with increased spatial resolution; and
  • GE’s TruScan architecture, which simplifies postprocessing and archiving by enabling quick access to saved images from a previous study.
In other GE news, the company is showcasing this week at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., its Innova 3131IQ and 2121IQ digital flat panel Biplane Imaging Systems. The systems, recently granted FDA clearance, cover the full size of the patient’s lateral and frontal anatomy simultaneously for a variety of cardiovascular and neurovascular image-guided interventional procedures. Thus, procedures can be done with fewer x-ray images and contrast injections. Both systems are indicated for use in cardiovascular imaging, diagnostic and interventional procedures, and 3D imaging of vessels and soft tissue. The Innova IQ platform is capable of imaging the finest vessels and cardiovascular anatomy based on the digital flat-panel technology invented and developed by GE Healthcare for medical imaging. The GE panel also enables it to perform high-quality 3D Flat Panel Rotational Imaging to produce 3D images of the vascular system, bone, and soft tissue in the body. The new Innova Biplane systems also offer 20 cm and 30 cm area coverage. Also at the conference, the company announced that Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in California has selected the LightSpeed VCT, a 64-slice CT system, for its cardiac CT program. 

Cancer treatment technology developer IntraOp Medical Corporation delivered a Mobetron system to Nagoya University Hospital, in Nagoya, Japan. This is the 18th Mobetron system delivered worldwide and the second such system delivered to Japan. The Mobetron is a mobile electron-beam instrument designed for intraoperative electron radiation therapy (IOERT), the direct application of radiation to a tumor while a patient is undergoing cancer surgery. Nagoya University Hospital is one of 80 hospitals in Japan with active IOERT programs.

Vital Images and Toshiba Medical Systems released the SUREPlaque coronary plaque characterization software. Developed through a technical collaboration between the companies, SUREPlaque is designed to aid in the evaluation, characterization, and quantification of plaque inside the coronary arteries. Under the agreement, SUREPlaque is available on Vital Images’ Vitrea software, version 3.9, which features enhancements to Vital Images’ dedicated cardiac visualization applications. Although compatible with cardiac images from any CT scanner, SUREPlaque was developed and validated exclusively on Toshiba CT images. Featuring improved integration between Vitrea and SUREPlaque, the coronary plaque characterization software is designed to provide color coding of vessel walls and noncalcified and calcified plaque for easy reference and viewing. Enhancements include improved visualization of lesion boundaries and plaque types with automated measurement and quantification tools. For Toshiba CT images, there are additional functionalities, including measuring plaque burden. In addition to SUREPlaque, Vitrea 3.9 incorporates new tools for probing coronary arteries, as well as increased capacity for handling large data sets.