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From the perspective of new product introductions, the AmericanInstitute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting suffers from its proximityto radiology's center stage, the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica conference. Vendors rely on the Chicago meeting for
From the perspective of new product introductions, the AmericanInstitute of Ultrasound in Medicine meeting suffers from its proximityto radiology's center stage, the Radiological Society of NorthAmerica conference. Vendors rely on the Chicago meeting for blockbusterproduct announcements and as a result usually have little thatis new to showcase at the ultrasound meeting. This year was nodifferent, with few products appearing at the AIUM's Baltimoremeeting that hadn't already been seen at the RSNA show.
Despite the RSNA's shadow, the first quarter of 1994 was notquiet for ultrasound vendors. Food and Drug Administration devicereviewers kept their pencils sharp during this period, grantingmarketing clearance to a raft of products in the interval betweenRSNA and AIUM conferences.
Highlights of the meeting included digital image managementsystems, as well as the latest advancements in Doppler blood vesselroad-mapping techniques, which produce angiography-like images.
3M Medical Imaging Systems**3M for the first time showcasedthe fruits of its new alliance with PACS developer Cemax. Thecompanies entered a joint marketing agreement in February to sellCemax's Perfect Vision series of PACS products (SCAN 3/2/94).
The Cemax line, dubbed 3M Image Management System, supportsmultimodality networking and archiving and is made up of a seriesof dedicated workstations linked to a distributed archive. Cemaxrecently received FDA marketing clearance for the products (seestory, page 3).
Acoustic Imaging **The Phoenix ultrasound vendor displayedPerforma, a new low-cost gray-scale scanner introduced at theRSNA meeting last year (SCAN 12/29/93).
**AI also displayed Envision, the latest upgrade to its flagshipAI 5200 S scanner, as well as a new 10-MHz flat linear-array broadbandtransducer for small parts applications.
Acuson**The Mountain View, CA, firm introduced EV7, a new endovaginalprobe for the vendor's multihertz family of transducers. The ob/gynprobe should be useful for applications in the evaluation of earlypregnancy, such as detection of fetal anomalies, according tothe company. EV7 can scan at 4, 5 and 7 MHz.
**Acuson also displayed panels showing the company's latest workon Color Doppler Energy (CDE), its version of Doppler blood vesselroad mapping, which provides vessel images similar to those producedby x-ray angiography.
CDE may also have potential application in determining tissueviability and differentiating masses or cysts from normal tissue,according to the company. CDE's transparent mode allows cliniciansto view underlying 2-D gray-scale information along with the CDEvessel images.
**Aegis, Acuson's image management system, began shipping in January.The vendor reported 20 systems have been installed to date. Acusonis shipping two or three Aegis systems a week.
Agfa**The film and PACS vendor displayed the LR3300 laser printer,as well as Impax 5000 review station and Impax 1000 digital archivingstation for ultrasound image management. Agfa of Ridgefield Park,NJ, has installed 15 of the Unix-based Impax systems in the U.S.
ALI Technologies**The Burnaby, Canada-based PACS developerenjoyed its first AIUM meeting with FDA marketing clearance forUltraPACS, an ultrasound image management system based on theNeXTSTEP operating system. The company showed UltraPACS' abilityto display images from other modalities alongside ultrasound images.
ALI upgraded the UltraPACS microprocessor to an Intel Pentiumlast year and has improved the system's DICOM 3.0 interface. Thecompany has eight UltraPACS sites installed in the U.S. and Canada.
Aloka**Aloka displayed its SSD-2000, a color Doppler radiologysystem, and SSD-650 CL, an intraoperative scanner.
ATL**The Bothell, WA, firm's booth featured panels on DopplerPower Imaging, the vendor's version of Doppler blood vessel roadmapping on the Ultramark 9 HDI scanner.
**Also prominent at the ATL booth was Access, the vendor's ultrasoundimage management workstation. ATL displayed the system's Cineloopfeature for running cine images. The vendor plans to begin shippingAccess this year.
Camtronics Medical Systems**The multiformat camera supplierdisplayed recent changes to its Color Acquisition Module (CAM),which is marketed through OEMs. Camtronics has converted the unit'sformat from Bernoulli disk to magneto-optical disk. The 128-megabytedisk stores up to 400 gray-scale images or 135 color images. TheHartland, WI, company also showed its Digital Image Recorder multiformatcamera, which is sold through 3M.
Cone Instruments**Cone Instruments is one of several ultrasoundvendors waiting for FDA marketing clearance on 3-D ultrasoundtechnology, along with Acoustic Imaging and TomTec. Cone's Combison530, developed by Kretztechnik of Austria, is an ultrasound scannerwith 3-D capability. It is being marketed overseas and has aninstalled base of 100 in Germany.
Diasonics Ultrasound**Milpitas, CA-based Diasonics unveiledUltrasound Angio II, a second-generation Doppler blood vesselroad-mapping technique (SCAN 3/16/94). The upgrade eliminates"flash" artifacts caused by tissue motion, and Diasonicsalso displayed several new maps as a part of the release.
Ultrasound Angio II's topographic map feature uses a new algorithmto highlight the difference between extremely small vessels andadjacent tissue. The resulting image shows a 3-D-like view ofvessels. The upgrade's gray-scale mapping feature creates a black-and-whiteversion of color mapping, which appears more like a conventionalangiogram and can be printed on transparent film.
Eastman Kodak**The medical film and PACS supplier displayedprogress in developing an ultrasound workstation for its EktascanImagelink image management system. The PDS series of workstationsare Macintosh-based systems that use dual monitors to view imagesdistributed over wide area networks.
The workstations can interface with all ultrasound scannersand can display images from CT and MRI alongside an ultrasoundimage. Kodak of Rochester, NY, expects the workstations to beavailable in mid-1994.
EchoCath**EchoCath of Monmouth Junction, NJ, again displayedits ColorMark biopsy needle guidance system, introduced at lastyear's AIUM (SCAN 5/19/93). ColorMark clips to a biopsy needleand creates minute vibrations that are detectable with color Dopplerultrasound, allowing clinicians to easily visualize needle placement.
Elscint**The Israeli vendor's Elscintec Systems subsidiary,formed earlier this year to market mammography and ultrasoundproducts (SCAN 2/2/94), made its first appearance at a U.S. medicalconvention.
**Elscintec displayed as a works-in-progress the ESI 5000, a PC-basedcolor-flow Doppler unit awaiting FDA marketing clearance. Elscintintroduced the unit at last year's RSNA meeting.
**Elscintec introduced at this conference a new workstation forthe ESI 5000. The workstation is for processing and review ofultrasound images and supports teleradiology functions.
Fuji Medical Systems**Fuji featured the Pictrography 3000,a chemical-free color laser printer introduced at the RSNA meetinglast year (SCAN 2/2/94). The unit prints on 8.5 x 11 sheets offilm or paper and is intended to work in conjunction with Fuji'sRemote Acquisition System (RAS) ultrasound image management system,which was also displayed.
GE Medical Systems**GE showcased its new Logiq family of ultrasoundscanners, Logiq 500 and Logiq 700. Logiq 700 received FDA marketingclearance during the meeting (see story, page 2).
Hitachi Medical Systems**The Japanese vendor displayed thenewest addition to its ultrasound line, EUB-405 Plus, a portablegray-scale scanner weighing 29 pounds. The unit was introducedat the RSNA meeting. Also in attendance at Hitachi's booth wasthe EUB-515 Plus, the vendor's color-flow Doppler offering.
International Imaging Electronics**IIE of Bolingbrook, IL, showcasedits new fullView ultrasound image management system (see story,page 3). IIE also displayed the Maestro digital image acquisitionand playback system and Model 40, a compact multiformat camera.
Interspec**Interspec made the most of its proposed acquisitionby ATL with a panel announcing the transaction.
**The Ambler, PA, firm displayed its RX400 general-purpose radiologyscanner, which was introduced last year.
Medison America**Korea-based Medison received FDA marketingclearance in January for two scanners displayed in its booth,SonoAce 88P and SonoAce 1500, both low-cost gray-scale systems(SCAN 2/2/94).
**Medison is awaiting FDA action on its gray-scale Doppler system,SonoAce 4800, which was shown as a works-in-progress.
Philips Ultrasound**Prominent at the Philips booth were panelstouting the utility of the vendor's CVI-Q non-Doppler method forquantifying blood flow. Philips has almost 50 clinical sites worldwideusing the technique. The vendor plans to leverage that researchinto outcomes data that would support new clinical applicationsfor CVI-Q.
The technique provides blood-flow measurements with plus orminus 15% accuracy, a big improvement on Doppler-based methods,according to the company. This accuracy would be useful in measuringthe effectiveness of therapy, such as surgical intervention toclear a stenosis. Philips began shipping CVI-Q on its P700 SEscanners in February.
**Philips also displayed a panel outlining its plans for remoteservice of its P700 SE and P600 scanners. The Santa Ana, CA, vendor'sRemote Technical Assistance Center (R-TAC) will enable Philipsengineers to access ultrasound scanners remotely and perform maintenancesuch as system checks, according to the company.
Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems**Polaroid again showcasedits Helios 810 laser printer, an 8 x 10 format, chemistry-freeimager that received FDA clearance last year (SCAN 6/2/93).
Shimadzu Medical Systems**Present in Shimadzu's booth wereits general-purpose scanners, including SDU-400, an ob/gyn andurology scanner awaiting FDA 510(k) clearance. The unit can alsobe used for intraoperative applications. The Torrance, CA, vendorhas designed a 6.5-MHz biplane convex/convex transrectal probefor the system.
Siemens Ultrasound**While all seemed normal at the Siemensbooth, the vendor has been unable to ship ultrasound productsin the U.S. since February due to a consent decree between thecompany and the FDA. The suspension was related to problems withgood manufacturing practices (GMP) at the ultrasound group's Issaquah,WA, facility (SCAN 3/2/94).
There were no restrictions on the Siemens display at the AIUMmeeting, however, and the firm is continuing to ship scannersoverseas, according to the company. Siemens plans to begin domesticshipments again when it opens a new ultrasound factory this spring.
**On hand at the vendor's booth was its Quantum 2000 color-flowDoppler scanner and the Sonoline series of mid-tier systems. Siemensalso showed images from a 7-MHz works-in-progress transducer,7E11.
Sonus Pharmaceuticals**The Baltimore meeting marked the firstAIUM appearance for this ultrasound contrast agent start-up, whichwas founded by Omniscan inventor Dr. Steven Quay.
The Costa Mesa, CA, company showcased the progress of clinicaltrials on its first agent, QW 3600 (EchoGen). EchoGen is an intravascularcontrast agent based on a dodecafluoropentane emulsion that turnsinto echogenic microbubbles when injected.
Sonus filed an investigational new drug (IND) application withthe FDA in January and has begun phase-one testing of the agent(SCAN 1/19/94).
Toshiba America Medical Systems**At its AIUM booth, Toshibafeatured its line of micro-style transducers for intraoperativeimaging. The 7- and 5-MHz dual-frequency probes are capable ofpulsed wave and color Doppler imaging. The probes work with Toshiba'sSSH-140 and SSA-270A scanners.
Visiplex Instruments**The Orangeburg, NJ, company displayedits newest product, CCM601, a compact camera that debuted at theRSNA meeting.