Philips enters handheld ultrasound market

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Royal Philips Electronics has launched its handheld ultrasound system, the Philips CX50 CompactXtreme, for cardiologists to obtain diagnostic data bedside.

“Initially, Philips stood back in the marketplace to see what was unfolding with the compact, or laptop-type, ultrasound. In working with customers, we found that they were frustrated by the inability to image the most technically challenging patients, and very critical studies, at the patient’s bedside. The users of compact systems didn’t have the confidence in the portable systems, compared to the premium systems in their labs,” Jim Brown, senior director of clinical and technical marketing at Philips Healthcare, told Health Imaging News

As a result of the feedback, Brown said that Philips strove to take the power of its IE33 premium product, and miniature it down to a laptop size, and “deliver a premium-level product at the bedside.” Brown said that the user interface of the CX50 is also similar to the IE33, limiting training and learning requirements.

The company said the CX50 CompactXtreme features its PureWave transducer, which can improve penetration in difficult-to-image patients, reducing clutter. It also features Philips XRES adaptive image processing for reduced speckle and haze inherent with ultrasound imaging. The CX50 also has both wired and wireless DICOM capabilities, according to Brown.

The Philips CX50 CompactXtreme supports adult transthoracic and transesophageal cardiology applications, the company said.

Brown said that there is also “a lot of on-board quantification tools—all of the advanced quantification of the IE33 is also available on CX50.” The product is also fully software based, allowing for new capabilities and new transducers to be updated with new software iterations.   

In terms of price comparison, Brown said that the IE33 costs about $120,000 to $200,000, depending on the customer add-ons, while the CX50 will typically cost about $80,000 to $100,000. 

Philips is targeting its new product to any facility that performs echocardiography, according to Brown. For example, he said that a larger lab may want to extend its services to the operating room or critical-care units; or an office environment that is limited on space; or a practice that is looking to begin remote services.

The CX50’s built-in handle and battery allow “users to pickup-and-go for quick responses;” a cart designed for the system to be maneuvered throughout a hospital; and a wheeled case supports easy travel to remote locations.