Philips P700 carries the best of Platinum

June 30, 1993

Big isn't necessarily better in today's ultrasound market. Customerswho crave high-end performance may willingly part with optionalfrills for a better price. Philips Ultrasound found demand higherfor its P700 mid-range scanner than for the premium

Big isn't necessarily better in today's ultrasound market. Customerswho crave high-end performance may willingly part with optionalfrills for a better price. Philips Ultrasound found demand higherfor its P700 mid-range scanner than for the premium Platinum.So the vendor went with the flow.

Philips discontinued Platinum late last year and made P700its flagship scanner. P700 carries Philips' most promising high-techultrasound weapons, including:

  • color velocity imaging, a non-Doppler, direct blood-flowvelocity measurement technique introduced three years ago (SCAN2/14/90);

  • CVI-Q, a CVI-based blood-flow volume quantificationpackage still under Food and Drug Administration review (SCAN2/12/92);

  • 120 channels; and

  • broad-bandwidth imaging.

The broad-bandwidth feature helps both CVI and gray-scale performance,according to Thomas DiGiacinto, director of marketing. That factcould turn into a significant competitive advantage for the vendor.

"Broad-bandwidth improvements can be made for color ifyou aren't using the Doppler technique," he told SCAN. "Dopplerrequired narrow bandwidth."

Some of Platinum's cost was tied up in optional design features,such as a floating console, gel warmer and retractable cables,that users could do without.

"These were nice to have, but they really drove the priceup," said Dennis Paul, manager of clinical marketing.

The old premium system also used annular-array transducer technology,which has declined in attractiveness.

"The market has moved away from annular-array technology,"DiGiacinto said. "Most systems today are fully solid state.One reason is that you can't do effective color imaging with mechanicalprobes."

But Platinum also had a troubled history. System bugs causedPhilips to temporarily halt shipments four years ago (SCAN 4/26/89).

PHILIPS HOLDS HIGH HOPES for both CVI and CVI-Q. Favorable clinicalresults and papers are starting to come in on the blood volumemeasurement technique. The vendor held a three-day meeting forinvestigators last month at Bowman Gray University in Winston-Salem,NC. Reports presented at the meeting heralded CVI-Q's accuracy,DiGiacinto said.

"We have done more to prove the validity of (CVI-Q) estimatesin vivo and in vitro than any technology I have been involvedwith," he said. "We have performed comparative studieswith flowmeters and in animals that have had a consistent trackrecord of accuracy on the order of plus or minus 15%. Some siteshave narrowed that to close to 6%."

Investigators are also finding specific clinical applicationsfor the volume measurements, such as in the surveillance of bypassgrafts. The only comparable imaging technique is more expensiveMR angiography, he said.

Philips has 13 CVI installations worldwide, with the majorityin the U.S., DiGiacinto said. It is not yet clear how the vendors'collaboration with cardiac ultrasound leader Hewlett-Packard willimpact the evolution of this technology (SCAN 11/18/92).

"It would not be in our best interest to speak about therelationship until we have something substantial to say,"he said.