EZ EM diversifies product line with MR injector, renal monitor

June 1, 2007

The first hydraulic injector for MR contrast will soon enter U.S. and European markets. Free of the motors typical of contrast injectors, EZ EM’s Empower MR offers artifact-free operations in the MR suite up to 7T, according to Jennifer Hwang, marketing manager for injector systems at EZ EM.

The first hydraulic injector for MR contrast will soon enter U.S. and European markets. Free of the motors typical of contrast injectors, EZ EM's Empower MR offers artifact-free operations in the MR suite up to 7T, according to Jennifer Hwang, marketing manager for injector systems at EZ EM.

"There is virtually no radiofrequency noise because there are no electric motors," she said. "So you get better quality images."

The new product, EZ EM's first MR contrast injector, was introduced commercially as a work-in-progress at the recent International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine meeting. It exemplifies a change in corporate strategy as the company seeks to diversify from its long-time dependence on barium contrast.

In the pipeline is a point-of-care device that measures creatinine as an indicator of renal function. The device, EZ Chem, acts like a glucose meter, according to Hwang, providing readings in 30 seconds versus one to three hours for a lab test ordered in the hospital.

Heightened concerns about adverse effects from gadolinium-based MR contrast among patients with severe renal impairment, particularly the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, have put a premium on such information, she said.

"EZ Chem can ensure the kidneys are functioning properly before the patient gets contrast injected," she said.

The device awaits European and FDA clearances for marketing. Both are expected soon, according to Hwang.

Empower MR has cleared both regulatory hurdles. The company is ramping up its production, and routine shipments are anticipated in the U.S. and Europe by midsummer. List price in the U.S. will be around $42,000. A price for its sale in Europe is still pending.

Comparable in size to an electrical cable, the hydraulic drive on the Empower MR requires no batteries. This eliminates not only RF noise but the risk that diminishing power might impair function, which can occur during periods of high demand. The hydraulic system also gets rid of the need to change or recharge power sources.

Empower MR generates a flow rate and pressure up to 10 mL/sec down to 40 psi. Its color-coded dual head allows the administration of contrast followed by a saline flush. An illuminating handle shows orange for contrast and blue for saline.