Siemens gives its cardiology care vision at ACC, shows latest technologies
At ACC06 in Atlanta this week, Siemens Medical Solutions provided a vision of how cardiac imaging and IT are shaping up and where they are going, and towards this end the company showcased its 64-slice CT system Somatom, Soarian Cardiovascular Enterprise cardiology image management system, and the latest in its ultrasound technologies.

The company highlighted its SOMATOM Sensation 64-slice CT system that now has a worldwide installed base of 600 sites, and includes the following technologies STRATON X-ray tube, z-Sharp Technology and the new CT Clinical Engines. The dual source system can also image patients with high or irregular heart rates without beta blocker medication that have been previously needed to slow a patient's heart. The system also enables physicians to better identify and characterize plaque, an early indicator of heart disease.

The SOMATOM Definition is faster than every beating heart and capable of imaging full cardiac detail with as much as 50 percent less radiation exposure compared to traditional cardiac CT scans, Siemens said. This dual source CT system uses two x-ray sources and two detectors simultaneously, compared to all other CT systems, which use only one source and detector. With 0.33 seconds per rotation, electrocardiogram-(ECG) synchronized imaging can be performed with 83-millisecond temporal resolution, independent of the heart rate, resulting in motion-free cardiac images.

Siemens also highlighted its Soarian Cardiovascular Enterprise, a comprehensive healthcare information technology (IT) solution that supports cardiovascular care from admission to procedure follow-up. This scalable system integrates diagnostic image acquisition, image processing, and evidence-based reporting tools from syngo Dynamics with Soarian Cardiology to provide a single, longitudinal clinical repository that becomes a true cardiovascular electronic patient record (EPR).

With a complete clinical view of the patient, physicians are able to provide faster, more streamlined care. Soarian Cardiovascular Enterprise enables web-based, real-time access to information virtually anywhere, anytime while linking clinical processes such as ordering, nursing, and reporting into logical workflows. In an environment where time is critical, Soarian Cardiovascular Enterprise provides a one-stop source for all relevant patient information.
In addition to Soarian Cardiovascular Enterprise, other healthcare IT systems for cardiac care were featured:
  • Soarian Critical Care: An emerging system that will address the clinical, financial, and operational workflow challenges of the critical care team;
  • Soarian Disease Management: A comprehensive, interactive web-based solution that provides patients with the guidance and support to manage and conveniently report on their daily health status; and
  • Soarian Operating Room: A fully integrated information system designed to support the complete peri-operative process.
Siemens also highlighted its latest in ultrasound systems, including the Axius Velocity Vector Imaging (VVI) technology that offers clinicians a new way to assess the heart's contraction mechanics using ultrasound information to visualize contraction and relaxation mechanics, and had the ability to see a ‘freeze frame’ of motion at any point in the cardiac cycle. In addition, Siemens' Axius Auto Ejection Fraction (EF) technology, which automatically calculates ejection fraction without the need for operator interaction, helps to enhance accuracy and workflow by automatically detecting and calculating the most common cardiac function parameters using proprietary pattern recognition technology.

In related news, the Sequoia system was recently used during a ground breaking procedure at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where cardiologists, a radiologist and risk obstetrical specialists placed a stent in the heart of a 30-week fetus suffering from hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) with an intact septum.