Portable Help for Your Heart
Aiming to speed the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions, SonoSite has upgraded its handheld ultrasound system to include cardiology capabilities.
Targeted at physicians and hospital emergency departments, the Titan system provides a portable tool that can perform both radiology and cardiology examinations, including full echocardiography and vascular studies, the company says. The upgraded version improves the vascular studies software, output options, image quality, and other features of the device.
Echocardiography is an ultrasound imaging process used to detect heart disease. The ultrasound reflects echoes from the heart as a series of lines on a tape printout or machine display, which are then interpreted by a physician or cardiologist.
At 7.7 pounds, Titan is designed for portability, says Dave Willis, vice product of product and channel management at SonoSite: "[Physicians] can take it from one clinic to another."
The core technology in Titan is based on an ASIC (Application Specified Integrated Circuit) designed by SonoSite, Willis says. Ultrasound systems typically require separate circuit boards, but SonoSite pulled the necessary components together on a single board to create the portable device, he says.
Titan's new features allow a physician to perform echocardiography studies that meet the standards required by health insurance companies for a complete echocardiography examination, says Willis. "The functionality of the device is as good as in the lab. When customers ask for fancier features like 3D [imaging], we tell them to go buy a big cart."
The upgraded device can perform some of the work typically done in a laboratory, including multiple forms of Doppler imaging and measurement, which uses signals to detect and measure blood flow; tissue harmonic imaging, which uses signals to provide visualization of tissue interfaces; and time-motion mode imaging and measurement, which helps show cardiac functions over a period of time.
Titan has a magnesium case and boots up in less than 12 seconds, according to Willis. It has an 8.4-inch LCD screen and runs for 2 to 3 hours on a single battery charge, he says. The device has two CompactFlash slots--one for image storage and the second for upgrades to the device. It can withstand being dropped from 30 inches, Willis says.
Delivery for Titan is scheduled for mid-June worldwide, Willis says. Its estimated price will be around $40,000. Minor product upgrades will be provided free, while there may be a charge for major upgrades such as new features, says Willis. The company mails upgrades to customers on CompactFlash cards.