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Philips ATL readies shipping of upgraded HDI 5000 scanner


Four months after receiving FDA clearance, Philips ATL’s upgraded HDI 5000 diagnostic ultrasound system is poised for introduction. The first of ATL’s newly enhanced flagship products is scheduled to roll off the line in October, and upgrades

Four months after receiving FDA clearance, Philips ATL’s upgraded HDI 5000 diagnostic ultrasound system is poised for introduction. The first of ATL’s newly enhanced flagship products is scheduled to roll off the line in October, and upgrades for the installed base will begin shipping in November.

Although FDA clearance was granted in May (SCAN 7/8/01), the system was officially unveiled Sept. 10, and ATL had planned that week to begin a series of events aimed at introducing the new technology to customers around the world. The terrorist attacks Sept. 11 forced the company to delay those plans.

“We rolled this product out to our sales force before the events in New York and Washington happened,” said Jim Brown, senior director for clinical technical marketing. “So the sales force is trained. At least that’s a positive.”

ATL plans to stick with its original plans, but on a different time schedule. First up are product launches at the annual meetings of the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Oct. 11-13 in New Orleans and the Society for Radiology in Ultrasound meeting Oct. 24-28 in Las Vegas. ATL had expected these meetings to be well attended, but the continuing doubts about air travel brings uncertainty that all those with bookings will show up. Brown is hoping for the best.

“We’ve still got another few weeks to let time heal the wounds,” he said.

Customers will pay from $175,000 to nearly $300,000 for the new system, depending on configuration. The new software is standard on the product, but several discrete capabilities are options. These include XRES imaging and panoramic capability, which may be purchased separately or bundled together, or with other options. The price will vary accordingly. If purchased separately, for example, XRES lists for $15,000. Customers will get a discount if XRES is purchased with other capabilities.

XRES is the key new feature. The imaging algorithm, borrowed from Philips’ MRI technology, improves image quality by reducing speckle and noise and enhancing tissue margins and boundaries, while maintaining image resolution and integrity. It operates both in real-time and as a postprocessing feature.

“It looks for and characterizes specific structures within the image and does a selective enhancement to those areas,” Brown said. “The goal for XRES is to eliminate any artifacts in the image and thus augment our ability to see tissue textures.”

Notably, panoramic imaging, which allows the seamless stitching together of images, also measures distance or area using tools already available on the HDI 5000 system. Another enhancement, assisted border detection (ABD), provides a semiautomatic approach for calculating left ventricular volume and ejection fraction.

“ABD allows the user to automatically measure the left ventricle during freeze-frame,” Brown said. “It allows the left ventricle to be measured very quickly on a wide range of patient types, whether they’re easy or difficult to image.”

Users can either accept the automated trace and selected image frames or manually modify traces for optimal alignment. ABD is designed to improve overall study throughput by simplifying the steps required to outline the heart’s left ventricular cavity.

“This is an extremely important upgrade,” said Victor Reddick, senior vice president for global marketing, sales, and service. “We’ve been encouraged by reports we’ve received from our luminary sites that have evaluated it.”

The HDI 5000 has long been the company’s top-tier performer. The software-controlled system, whose configurations are sold into both the radiology and echocardiography markets, is capable of displaying 2-D gray-scale, 2-D color Doppler, continuous wave Doppler, pulsed Doppler, color power angio, 3-D images, and a combination of modes. It accepts linear array, curved linear array, phased array, and static probe transducers ranging in frequency from 2 to 10 MHz.

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