The Vivid E9 BT12 with 4D TEE lets clinicians view precise images of the heart during assessment and diagnosis performed in the echocardiography lab.

The recent announcement of the FDA clearance and availability of GE Healthcare’s Vivid E9™ Breakthrough 2012 (BT12) cardiovascular ultrasound system heralds GE Healthcare’s entry into the transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) market. Its new 4D TEE transducer will enable the Vivid E9 system to be used in different settings, such as the cath lab and the operating room, making the BT12 a new option for surgical procedures, including mitral valve repair, transcatheter aortic valve replacement/implantation (TAVR/TAVI), atrial septal defect (ASD) closures, and patent foramen ovale (PFO) closures.

The Vivid E9 BT12 is a software upgrade from the BT11, with the 4D TEE probe available as an additional purchase option. The Vivid E9 BT12 with 4D TEE will allow clinicians to view precise images of the heart during assessment and diagnosis performed in the echocardiography lab, and support invasive surgical procedures in the operating room, as well as image-guided procedures in the cath lab. “The TAVR/TAVI procedure is becoming more available in the United States with the recent approval of payment from CMS,” said Al Lojewski, general manager of cardiovascular ultrasound, GE Healthcare. “We have done quite a few in Europe already using this 4D TEE probe. Now, hopefully, this will be used for surgical planning for sizing of the device and giving the surgeon an understanding, if they are doing the mitral valve repair, of what kind of device they may use. A lot of the focus has been in that sort of surgical planning, then post-op to determine if the valve is seated properly during the procedure and then patient follow-up.”

Along with the 4D TEE transducer, GE Healthcare has introduced a host of innovative features and tools, new to cardiovascular ultrasound, that are designed to enhance 4D imaging and help improve workflow efficiency with simplified image acquisition, intuitive navigation, and advanced quantification. These include one-button acquisition of mitral valve images with a dedicated MV button, a live 2-Click Crop tool for obtaining any 4D view in both live and replay modes, and an industry-first configurable TEE transducer.

“2-Click Crop is a very intuitive way for rapid cropping and visualization of the structure of interest. It is beneficial with almost any valvular heart disease,” said Professor Andreas Hagendorff of the University of Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany. “The excellent image quality of the TEE probe is very impressive, especially with difficult-to-image structures like the aortic valve. The leaflets of the valve are displayed in a smooth, continuous way.”

GE’s new Vivid E9 BT12 cardiovascular ultrasound system is designed for various clinical settings, including the cath lab and OR.

“TEE usually involves the cardiologist holding the probe with his hand and calling out to the team to freeze and store images,” said Lojewski. “We have added simple things like the ability to configure the keys on the actual handle of the TEE probe so that the cardiologists themselves can store and freeze the image exactly when they want. It’s simple things like that, which may not seem like a lot, but just help with a smoother workflow throughout the process.”

In addition to improved workflow efficiency, improvements in overall image quality of the 2D and 4D images are what GE customers should expect with the Vivid E9 BT12 software upgrade. Lojewski added, “We have taken our customers’ feedback and not only are entering into this new market with the use of 4D TEE, but also are providing improvements in their day to day product, across the spectrum, in overall image quality and color quality.”

“During live scanning, the new 4D TEE probe provides 4D images of outstanding resolution in motion and a very well-balanced ratio between temporal and spatial resolution,” said Luigi P. Badano, MD, of the University of Padua in Padua, Italy. “Image capture on remote cycles is very fast and simple, which is critically important for time-limited examinations, like TEE. The GE TEE solution provides various navigation tools on board, which enable an easy and rapid manipulation of 4D data to obtain the desired view in a few seconds.”

Workflow enhancements also can be achieved during quantification with a new MV Assessment plug-in from TomTec available on EchoPAC™ BT12 that has the potential to decrease assessment time.

“What we pride ourselves on is really listening to the customers,” said Lojewski. “Time is very critical when you are in the middle of a procedure. We understand that. The engineers did a tremendous job on focusing on the efficiency of the workflow in this release.”