Ultrasound

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Many cutting-edge ultrasound systems highlighted at RSNA are getting smaller but also more powerful, packing a seemingly endless amount of functionalities/capabilities into an ever-shrinking profile. Though most portable ultrasound system vendors won't usually say as much (and in truth the systems haven't yet quite reached the imaging quality of larger, cart-based systems - but they are getting very close!), one has to wonder if portable machines will be the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, metaphorically speaking. Talk about bringing a powerful tool to the point-of-care!
   
Be that as it may, the premium and mid-range ultrasound systems on display are packed full of imaging punch for an ever-broadening range of clinical applications. 3D/4D capability was an oft-mentioned capability and grants sonographers with powerful tool for guiding through volume data. A number of systems allow for virtual rescans of raw image data, which lets clinicians essentially re-do a scan without having a patient come back to the office. Also, ergonomic features being released should be effective in reducing stress and strain on sonographers.
   
Of note, too, were several systems that provide tools that allow ultrasound images to be fused with static CT/MR, for example.


Aloka introduced its new ProSound Alpha 10 ultrasound system - the company's new flagship products with a number of advanced features in addition to enhancements in spatial and contrast resolution, as well as near and deep uniformity of images, the company says.    
   
Of the advanced features, the company's Real-Time 4D package includes 3D measurements, 360 degrees of vertical and horizontal rotation, and a 1/2/4 way split screen for simultaneous display of a 4D image with as many as three additional sections.

Another highlighted feature was eFlow, a blood flow analysis tool that provides for sensitive detection of blood perfusion. The tool is designed for the evaluation of superficial blood flow, renal and deep renal blood flow, fetal blood flow, umbilical cord flow, and blood flow to tumors, among other applications, the company says.

The ProSound Alpha 10's Compound Pulse-Wave Generator is capable of producing a transmission signal through on/off signal timing to reduce signal noise.

The scanner began shipping in November.


Ardent Sound Inc. (aka Guided Therapy Systems, Inc.) brought its Voyager compact ultrasound system for its RSNA debut. The system gained FDA marketing clearance earlier this year.

Voyager is designed to function as a peripheral with a standard laptop or desktop personal computer. The system features a flexible design, and with its PC platform enables end-users to regularly upgrade the system with new software and firmware, for instance, 3D and other options. The Voyager is DICOM compatible and is capable of data transmission and archiving across networks.

Ardent Sound has priced the system under $5,000, so as to make it affordable for medical offices, clinics, medical residents, students, rural communities and developing countries, the company says.

Also on display were the Spark ultra high-frequency array system and Seeker general-purpose array system. Each of these peripheral systems include a number of probes, and can interface with most computers or laptops. Spark and Seeker are both pending FDA-approval.


Biosound Esaote Inc., a division of Esaote SpA, displayed new additions and upgrades to its MyLab series of ultrasound systems.
   
The MyLab 70 system is geared for general imaging that includes a full set of ultrasound features for use in radiology, vascular applications as well as by OB/GYN practitioners. Key components of the MyLab 70 include:
  • Tp-View - for use in breast and vascular applications with linear transducers and scanning extended structures, the systems trapezoidal imaging is able to enlarge view without resolution reduction;
  • VPan lets the user see the entire anatomical structure displayed on a screen during musculoskeletal and vascular applications;
  • Pure Brilliance Imaging enhances the grayscale commonly obtained in conventional ultrasound;
  • Contrast Tuned Imaging (CnTl) - a technology used in combination with ultrasound contrast agents for better results due to micro-bubble detection capabilities;
  • 3D/4D Capability; and
  • RF signal output which makes tissue characterization easier and closer.

Other features include real-time archiving, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and DICOM compliance.