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Philips' Intera Achieva CV offers ease of use, rapid cardiac MRI


ACC provides showcase for the new and upcoming Cardiac MR is moving into the clinical mainstream. Exhibit visitors attending the American College of Cardiology meeting have stopped asking basic questions about the technique and

ACC provides showcase for the new and upcoming

Cardiac MR is moving into the clinical mainstream. Exhibit visitors attending the American College of Cardiology meeting have stopped asking basic questions about the technique and begun looking into the technology, according to Peter Martin, international product manager for cardiac MR at Philips Medical Systems. At this year's ACC meeting, held March 7 to 10 in New Orleans, Philips had something new for them to look into.

The company featured its latest release for cardiac MR, Intera Achieva CV, a cardiovascular-optimized version of the general radiology platform launched three months earlier at the RSNA meeting. Achieva CV offers cardiac-specific bells and whistles that promise ease of use and rapid, high-quality images over a range of exams addressing heart morphology, function, flow, rest, and stress, as well as visualization of the coronaries and peripheral vasculature. The Achieva CV offers state-of-the-art technologies, including a scalable radio-frequency architecture FreeWave system that can support from eight to 16 or 32 channels and possibly more in the future, according to Martin.

The general-radiology platform can be upgraded to CV performance by adding software and a cardiac coil for parallel imaging. The cost for such an upgrade is around $200,000, about the same as the cost of a high-end cardiac ultrasound machine, according to Paul Gallagher, field marketing manager for MR at Philips.

SENSE (sensitivity encoding) parallel imaging is fully embedded in the system design, dramatically reducing scan times and increasing image resolution. Philips designers have incorporated real-time imaging to capture the beating heart while damping out motion artifact caused by respiration.

"Patients don't have to do breath-holds, which cardiac patients often find very hard to do," Martin said.

The Achieva CV comes equipped with a PhysioTrak for patient handling and physiological monitoring. It is composed of a trolley that allows users to prep patients away from the scanner, move them into the gantry, scan them, and take them away. ExamCards, built into the user interface, allow "one-button scanning," Martin said.

Over the next 12 months, Philips executives expect to sell about a dozen Achieva systems optimized specifically for cardiac MR. Many more, however, may be used for some cardiac imaging. In the recent past, Philips has sold about 40% of its MR scanners with at least some cardiac capabilities, Martin said.

Philips also showcased two works-in-progress at the ACC meeting. One, called k-t BLAST, generates high-resolution, volume-flow measurements in 10 seconds versus the three minutes otherwise needed. The other work-in-progress, 3D volume coronary imaging, delivers a volumetric heart study in about 12 minutes.

"We are already getting early feedback that this is going to be a big bonus, clinically," Martin said, "The technique generates stunning, photo-realistic depictions of the heart and coronary arteries from routine coronary MR scans."

Achieva CV is designed primarily for diagnosis. Augmented to include interventional capabilities built into Achieva I/T, however, the system can be used to perform guided cardiac catheterization. It has already been used for this purpose in children with congenital heart disease.

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