Ultrasound: Scanning Made Simple and Ergonomically Friendly

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Streamlining exams and boosting productivity is the focus of ultrasound users and vendors these days. With repetitive stress injuries already chronic among many sonographers and procedure volumes continuing to climb, a wide variety of ultrasound system vendors are offering more human-centric, ergonomically sound units with re-designed control panels, lighter probes and more software to make scanning less physical and user-dependent. Voice-controlled ultrasound systems are no longer something for the Jetsons. (Statistics show that 80 percent of sonographers have repetitive stress injuries, and 20 percent of them are debilitated by the injuries.)
New system enhancements debuting at RSNA came in a variety of applications, namely cardiovascular, abdominal, breast, small parts and surgery. And besides bringing ohs and ahs when viewing babies in utero, 3D and 4D imaging are adding new dimension to cardiovascular and vascular imaging. 4D has even been shown in one study to speed by 60 to 70 percent the time needed to scan patients, review images, and generate reports in a variety of applications. And 4D is no longer just attached to big-ticket prices, with vendors migrating this great technology down the ladder to portable systems, too. New features for hand-held ultrasound systems also brought a lot of interest as caregivers and facilities seek to practically and economically expand their clinical reach.

(Note: companies appear alphabetically.)

GE Healthcare showcased at RSNA two new cardiovascular ultrasound systems, new cardiovascular imaging capabilities on the LOGIQ 7, two new products for general imaging and new capabilities for the Voluson 730 Expert System for use in obstetrics and gynecology.

The Vivid 7 Dimension cardiovascular ultrasound system, with real-time 4D and multidimensional imaging capabilities, brings new echocardiography acquisition, reconstruction, and analysis techniques that allow physicians to view images in multiple planes simultaneously. New clinical tools include: multidimensional imaging, with acquisition technology that acquires bi-plane and tri-plane images with color and Doppler; 4D imaging, with real-time display of 3D imagines of the heart; 4D tissue synchronization imaging, a dynamic 4D parametric imaging model of dyssynchrony from a single heart beat; and bloodflow imaging, a vascular imaging mode.

The Vivid i, a miniaturized cardiovascular ultrasound system, features a portable, wireless design. The system's clinical utility and light weight make it ideal for urgent care, emergency room, critical care, and operating room use, according to the company. 

GE also profiled new cardiovascular imaging features and VoiceScan voice activation for the LOGIQ 7 shared services system. The features are designed to both serve the growing cardiovascular patient population and addressing sonographers' high rates of stress-related injuries. The new LOGIQ 7 system provides a full range of general imaging applications including abdominal, small parts, surgery and vascular, as well as a full suite of applications to support the growing number of cardiovascular procedures. The system's transesophageal (TEE) scanning and stress echo capabilities are complemented by a new set of quantitative tools to provide more precise methods for analyzing data. These new quantitative cardiovascular tools include: Tissue Velocity Imaging (TVI); Tissue Velocity Doppler (TVD); and Q-Analysis, which use numerical scores and mapping techniques to help increase diagnostic confidence, GE said. Applying the latest in wireless and speech recognition technologies, LOGIQ 7 now offers VoiceScan for hands-free voice command and track ball control of the system. With VoiceScan, clinicians can use intuitive words and phrases to activate more than 150 functions.

In general imaging, GE is featuring the new LOGIQ 9 and the new LOGIQworks Workstation. The LOGIQ 9 premium system offers volume and multi-planar imaging. With LOGIQ 9 and three new 4D transducers, clinicians can acquire and construct volumetric images instantaneously, up to 30 volumes per second. The system is built on GE's TruScan architecture that enables automatic image optimization and the flexibility of raw data manipulation and management. Image flexibility allows stored image optimization and measurement such as: Overall B-mode gain, dynamic range and gray scale maps; overall Doppler gain, baseline shift, sweep speed and inverted spectral wave form; Tru3D