GE, Philips fuse ultrasound data with CT and MR

December 1, 2008

Interventional guidance is getting a boost at RSNA 2008 through a novel ultrasound system developed by GE Healthcare and a partnership between Philips Ultrasound and interventional workstation developer Traxtal.

Interventional guidance is getting a boost at RSNA 2008 through a novel ultrasound system developed by GE Healthcare and a partnership between Philips Ultrasound and interventional workstation developer Traxtal.

GE's latest flagship ultrasound scanner, Logiq E9, fuses previously acquired CT and MR data sets with real-time ultrasound data. Data fusion is just one aspect of the premium-tier scanner, which this week made its first appearance on the RSNA 2008 exhibit floor. This capability, however, is unlike any other, according to Terri Bresenham, vice president of GE's diagnostic ultrasound and IT clinical systems. Available on the E9 console, Volume Navigation continuously updates the volumetric model of a patient with real-time ultrasound data to offer moment-to-moment guidance for interventionalists. A GPS-like function visually tracks the surgical instrument in real-time in context provided by CT or MR. The transducer is registered in 3D space using a magnetic field that serves as a virtual stereotactic frame.

Although a first-timer to the RSNA meeting, Logiq E9 was commercially released in late summer. This is the second time to the RSNA meeting for the Philips/Traxtal combination. At RSNA 2007, Philips' ultrasound scanner iU22 fed data to Traxtal's interventional navigation system, which fuses real-time ultrasound into MR or CT images.

This year, Philips and Traxtal tightened the digital link between the free-standing PercuNav workstation and the iU22 that allows for better image quality and communications. Keeping data fusion as a separate capability, built only into the workstation, provides the operator some flexibility until the ultrasound-based application takes hold, according to Jim Brown, director of clinical and technical marketing for the ultrasound business unit at Philips Healthcare. Similarly, the workstation can be used with or without ultrasound, just as the iU22 is purchased for use as a stand-alone ultrasound scanner.

The combination of two devices allows tip guidance using CT and MR volumes with real-time feedback from the overlay of ultrasound images. Sensors, working in concert with a device that generates a magnetic field, provide the data needed to track the intervention. The direct digital link between the workstation and ultrasound scanner enhances image quality through improved communications between the two products, according to Brown.