The American College of Cardiology (ACC of Bethesda, Md.) kicks off its 49th annual scientific session on Sunday, March 12, in what the organization is calling the “most comprehensive cardiovascular education program ever.”

On opening day, attendees have three informative forums from which to choose. ACC Interventional Symposium (ACCIS 2000) returns with opportunities to enhance and update one’s knowledge and skills. ClinCard 2000 debuts with state-of-the-art lectures, case presentations and interactive discussions of clinical topics to complement clinical expertise. The third session, Echo 2000, is described as an “intensive” echocardiography program, which will feature live case demonstrations, interactive case presentations and reading with experts.

Before the annual meeting closes on Wednesday, March 15, attendees also will have the chance to review some 2,100 abstract presentations on advances in cardiovascular disease, care, management and science.

On March 15, ACC will host a Highlights Session to review the most important breakthroughs during ACC 2000. Throughout the four-day show, more than 400 companies will display their latest cardiovascular products and services on the exhibit floor. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.

s03a.jpg (12064 bytes)Agilent’s EnConcert echo image
management sytem

Agilent Technologies Inc.’s Healthcare Solutions Group (Andover, Mass.) usually has a strong presence at ACC and this year it will feature two works-in-progress at its booth. The first is additional capabilities for the Sonos 4500/5500 echocardiography system. First of these works-in-progress is the enhanced harmonic image quality designed to improve endocardial border delineation and increase lateral and anterior wall visualization.

The Sonos 4500/5500 also will feature extended contrast imaging capabilities for myocardial contrast echo (MCE), including a new 2D technique to suppress tissue signals. Other improvements include a patented technology for real-time MCE to provide consistency with a variety of contrast agents.

Agilent also will show improved image handling capabilities and more flexible reporting options on its EnConcert echo image management system. EnConcert also will show a variety of connectivity enhancements based on industry standards such as DICOM and HL-7.

Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, Calif.) will use ACC to demonstrate its coronary artery calcium scoring (CACS) software for the Aquilion CT system which lets physicians detect the early stages of heart disease by identifying calcium build-up. Leveraging the Aquilion’s scanning speed, the ECG-gating technology enables the system to capture precise images of the heart by reducing the motion artifacts caused by the fast beat of the heart. As a result of obtaining a more clear image, physicians can perform more accurate CACS studies by having a better measurement of the calcium build-up.

In addition to Toshiba’s ECG-Gating system, the company’s complete CACS solution includes the Vitrea visualization package, licensed from Vital Images Inc. (Minneapolis). Toshiba and Vital Images’ packages work together to improve visualization of calcium deposits. First the image is acquired using the ECG-Gating System on the Aquilion, which reduces heart motion and artifacts during a CT scan. Then, clinicians use Vitrea’s V-score measurement software to calculate the patient’s level of arterial calcium and assess risk.

Imatron Inc. (South San Francisco) will be focusing its ACC exhibit on its Electron Beam Angiography (EBA) capabilities on the Ultrafast CT scanner, which gained FDA clearance in November. The new capabilities allow users to perform EBA on the coronary arteries, a less invasive method than traditional angiography. Company officials estimate that EBA can eliminate between 20 and 40 percent of conventional angiography procedures annually.

The EBA capabilities can be gained by all users of the Ultrafast CT using the AccuImage workstation after some user training. Company officials said 98 percent of the 120 Ultrafast users are under a service contract, which qualifies them for the EBA capabilities. Currently, the Ultrafast lists for $1.8 million.

s03b.jpg (11040 bytes)Philips’ Intera CV (cardiovascular)
MRI system

Philips Medical Systems North America (Shelton, Conn.) will highlight its Intera CV (cardiovascular) MRI system. The specially configured unit offers 1.5 Tesla field strength, a 60 cm opening and a shortened, more compact magnet. The Intera CV also features a reconstruction speed of 196 frames per second. The Intera CV also is equipped with an array of tools for cardiovascular imaging from coronaries to peripheral vessels.

Intera CV eventually will offer Syncrascan, a works-in-progress, which increases the acquisition speed by the same factor as the number of coils in use. For example, a 10-minute scan would become a five-minute exam with the use of two coils, while a 20-second breath-hold exam would be reduced to 10 seconds with two coils.

Philips hopes to have Syncrascan available to the market early next year. Shipments of the Intera CV began this quarter.

In the area of X-ray, as clinical applications expand, multi-purpose rooms for cardio and vacsular applications are becoming more of a necessity as facilities look to maximize each room’s potential. Philips will show its Integris series, which can be configured to perform cardiac, general vascular, and neurovascular applications all in one system. The Integris series also offers a choice of 9-inch, 12-inch, and 15-inch image intensifiers. Philips Integris series also is designed for the highest imaging resolution at the lowest fluoro dose without compromises.

Philips also will have at ACC its Integris 3D rotational angiography (RA) software for vascular reconstruction procedures. Integris 3D RA can reconstruct 3D images of a patient’s morphology in approximately six minutes for the first image. The 3D reconstructions can aid in the analyzing and diagnosis of complex lesions, including aneurysms, but 3D reconstructions also allow a clinician to see the shape of the lesion itself and its position in relation to the parent vessel, smaller branch arteries and the positioning of catheters, stents and balloons.

In information technology, Philips is unveiling its Inturis Suite, the next generation of its Inturis for Cardiology image and information management platform.

Inturis Suite is a capable of gathering information and images from ultrasound and MRI exams and integrating the cardiac-related data in either a single cath lab or multi-lab environment. Patient demographic information also is available automatically in the cath lab with the images.

As with previous generations, Inturis Suite offers on-line storage and DICOM CD-R exchange, as well as immediate remote viewing capabilities.

The suite has been installed at several sites, including the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Foundation and two of its satellite facilities, since the middle of last year. Philips expects to conclude its trials for Inturis Suite by the start of ACC and have the product to market right after the show.

Customers with Philips’ first-generation system can upgrade to Inturis Suite through a software and/or hardware upgrade, depending on the desired configuration.

s03c.jpg (9213 bytes)Eastman Kodak Co.’s DryView 8100

Visitors to the Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, N.Y.) booth will find the company showing its the Kodak Distributed Medical Imaging system, which was unveiled in November at the RSNA show. Recent enhancements to the system include upgraded software for the Kodak 1000 Distributed Medical Imaging server for an enhanced user interface and a new printer driver to allow Kodak 3600 imagers to connect directly to a PC.

Another offering will be the DryView 8100 Laser Imaging System, a dry-processing, laser imaging system released in mid-1999 for both network and direct-connection applications. The system provides 14-in. by 17-in. output at a throughput rate of 55 films per hour. The image area optimizes the imager for full-field digital mammography, computed radiography and desktop 8-in. by 10-in. applications. The 8100 is available in a direct connect configuration, as well as one for the DryView PACS Link.

Siemens Medical Systems Inc. (Iselin, N.J.) expects to show the latest developments in non-invasive imaging of coronary artery disease using the company’s Somatom Volume Zoom computed tomography (CT) system. The system is a non-invasive tool that aids physicians in evaluating patients for risk management and to monitor the progression of CAD. It also has applications in evaluating graft patency following bypass surgery.

The system’s spatial and contrast resolution and speeds of 125 milliseconds are designed to make the Volume Zoom system an effective tool for calcium scoring with what the company described as a “reliable” reading with a 30-second breath hold.

In addition, Volume Zoom system can acquire morphology and functional information as well as information about the vascular system.

On the MRI side, Siemens will be showing its FDA-cleared Magnetom Sonata dedicated cardiovascular and neurovascular MRI system. The Sonata is the latest addition to the Magnetom line, which includes the Symphony, a 1.5 Tesla imaging system.

For cardiac applications, the Sonata offers myocardial function, viability and angiography capabilities. It also uses a short, wide-bore magnet for patient comfort. The small magnet also means this system can be installed in 325 square feet, in many cases, without a computer room. end.gif (810 bytes)