Governance, Mission, Growth

4D Cardiac Ultrasound Improves Care
Imaging on the Go

4D Cardiac Ultrasound Improves Care

Keeping pace with technology can help keep heart patients alive. Just ask the folks at Iowa Heart Center.

In August, Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc, Tustin, Calif, announced that Iowa Heart Center, Des Moines, was the first customer to implement its new Aplio Artida ultrasound system. Iowa Heart said it selected the system for its 4D imaging capabilities and 3D wall motion tracking.

“The system’s main differentiator is the 3D wall motion tracking,” said Gordon Parhar, director of Toshiba’s ultrasound business unit. “We’re in the process of getting clinical validation for this technique, which is excellent for routine examinations of the heart, including left ventricular volume, stress echo applications, and echo-guided CRT [cardiac resynchronization therapy] screening and optimization. And, of course, follow-up.”

The Aplio Artida is the first system in the world with the ability to track and display myocardial motion and 3D volumes in 3D images.

The Artida is the first system in the world with the ability to track and display myocardial motion and 3D volumes in 3D images; its 2D/3D wall motion tracking features allow clinicians to obtain angle-independent, quantitative, and regional information about myocardial contraction.

“The machine can measure the left ventricular wall volume, the ejection fraction, regional and global quantification, and you can get this all in one heart cycle,” said Parhar. “The machine spits it all out in quantifiable data. Before, echo used to be really dependent on the observer and the skill of the observer’s eye. Now we’ve taken away the subjectivity and quantified the data so the physician can tell for certain whether there’s a wall motion abnormality.” That’s particularly important for Iowa Heart, which is looking to increase its cardiovascular diagnostic capability.

The system also provides gains in terms of clinician efficiency and workflow. “One of the problems with using 3D was that even though it gave you great data, it would take far too long to gather that data,” said Parhar. “When a patient would come to the echo department, it would increase the length of their stay because 3D was so cumbersome and difficult to use. As a result of that, most people who bought 3D ultrasound for cardio didn’t really utilize it very often. When you have a whole waiting room of patients you want to scan, you need to work as fast as possible.”

That’s especially true of today’s busy practices, which are trying to fit more patients into the workday in order to optimize the bottom line. “All of the Aplio Artida’s features are geared toward improving productivity,” Parhar said. “We eliminated a lot of the button-pushing normally associated with 3D. This is 3D for everyday use. It’s fast and simple, and that means it will be used more often.”

The system also features the distributed processing power of more than 80 processor cores at once, and applications like Multi-Cast Beamformer and SmartSlice to expedite exams while providing improved diagnostic accuracy.

“Being the first to purchase the Aplio Artida is an exciting development for us and our patients,” said Richard Marcus, MD, director of the cardiovascular ultrasound lab at Iowa Heart. “Having firsthand experience with the system, I am pleased with the images it produces. Its enhanced applications, particularly the 4D imaging, will allow our facility to continue to improve the care provided to our patients.”

Cat Vasko

Imaging on the Go

Traditionally, 3D/4D imaging has required high-performance processing and display on a workstation. But with the market now experiencing a shift in demand, NVIDIA Corp of Santa Clara, Calif, isn’t about to fall behind.

“There is a swift movement in the industry to server-client-based enterprise-wide deployment of advanced visualization,” said Kimberly Powell, business development manager, healthcare. “The drawback here was that thin clients have been too thin, at 2D only. With the Quadro FX mobile workstation, thin client users can now experience the same performance from a typical 3D workstation.”

The NVIDIA Quadro FX 3600M, the company’s most powerful workstation to date, is a high-performance mobile graphic processing unit. Features such as Shader Model 4.0 and CUDA technology on the mobile GPU are particularly useful for users working with large datasets and images.

“Surgery review carts have been typically built with a workstation grade PC due to the graphics demands,” Powell said. “Surgery carts are intended to be mobile in nature, and adding the bulk and power requirements of a workstation hinders the very concept. With a mobile workstation, the PC can run off batteries and is approximately one-fifth of the typical workstation weight.”

The Quadro FX 3600M is available as a fully qualified MXM v2.1A type-III form factor mobile workstation graphics board with 512 MB G-DDR3 memory, 256-bit memory interface, and 51.2 GBps graphic memory bandwidth.

Elaine Sanchez