Key option for calcium scoring software improves accuracy in screening coronary artery disease

Minneapolis 02 August 2000Vital Images Inc. has received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a new option to VScore, its coronary artery calcium scoring software. The newly approved option, called VScore with EKG Gate, utilises an alternative measurement process which exposes Vital Images' calcium scoring technology to a much larger potential market. The company's primary VScore product and VScore with EKG Gate are integrated options of its flagship 3D visualisation and analysis software, Vitrea 2.

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The rapid growth of next-generation, multi-slice helical scanners has driven strong growth in the use of calcium scoring as a relatively fast and inexpensive method of screening patients at risk for coronary artery disease. Easily visualised using VScore, calcium is a primary component of arterial plaque, which can indicate a person's likelihood of developing serious coronary problems in the future.

According to the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease is the single largest killer of Americans. Twelve million people living in the United States have a history of heart attack, chest pain or both. Many more are asymptomatic but have coronary heart disease. An estimated 1.1 million Americans will experience an initial or recurrent heart attack this year.

VScore uses image data from electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) scanners, the gold standard in coronary artery calcium imaging, as well as image data from newer multi-slice helical CT scanners with coronary scanning capabilities. VScore with EKG Gate was designed to offer enhanced measurement capabilities and to better utilise image data from helical CT scanners, including usage with the unique operating characteristics of scanners from GE Medical Systems. VScore with EKG Gate matches cardiac CT images with EKG signals and automatically identifies the images with the least motion, which can improve scoring accuracy.

"This new capability provides Vital Images with a significantly enhanced opportunity to participate in the cardiac scoring market arena", stated Al Emola, President and CEO. "Given its improved ability to use helical CT scanner data from market share leader GE Medical Systems, VScore with EKG Gate further broadens the effective target market for the VScore product family."

The company equally introduced an updated version of VScore. New VScore enhancements include risk factor information in a standard format, advanced tools to compare scores to a standardised population, and more detailed reports for assessment by referring physicians.

Vitrea 2 and its VScore options are simple, fast and affordable tools for 2D and 3D evaluation of CT heart image data. These tools are designed to allow physicians to quickly and non-invasively evaluate patients for calcium deposits with the goal of early detection of coronary artery disease. The company reported that both VScore with EKG Gate and the updated version of VScore are available for purchase immediately.

Vital Images is a leading provider of visualisation and analysis software for clinical diagnosis, surgical planning, and medical research. The company's technology utilises high-speed volume visualisation and analysis, as well as network communications based on DICOM and Internet protocols. Vital Images cost-effectively brings 3D visualisation and analysis into the routine, day-to-day practice of medicine. The company markets its products to health care providers and to manufacturers of diagnostic imaging equipment. The company's products are distributed through direct sales channels in the United States and through independent dealers in Europe, Asia, South America and Canada.


Leslie Versweyveld

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