FDA clearance and patent awarded to enhanced visualisation software for cardiac disease and brain tumours

Minneapolis 29 November 2000Vital Images Inc., an advanced medical visualisation software company, has received 510(k) clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market the latest release of its Vitrea 2 software product, version 2.2. This version of Vitrea 2 features novel clinical capabilities, designed specifically to assist in the diagnosis and analysis of heart disease and brain tumours. Among the software's new analytic tools is a vascular measurement function, which automates the process of gathering selected vessel measurements for heart disease treatment planning.


Vitrea 2 is medical imaging software for surgical planning and non-invasive diagnostic evaluation of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) image data. It enables physician users to create two- and three-dimensional views of human anatomy and to interactively navigate real time within these images to better visualise and understand internal structures and pathologies. In addition, Vitrea utilises an intuitive clinical work flow and automatically optimises visualisation settings using customised clinical protocols, improving both speed and simplicity over other visualisation techniques.

"Vitrea 2 version 2.2 is one of our most significant releases to date", commented Albert Emola, Vital Images president and CEO. "It has more advanced applications and methods than any previous release and is even faster and easier to use than before. With its pioneering visualisation and analytical tools, Vitrea further establishes Vital Images as the definitive leader in 3D medical visualisation."

Vitrea 2 version 2.2 features significant improvements for CT colonoscopy, including enhanced integration of 2D and 3D visualisation. Vital Images engineers worked with Intel Inc. to develop a significantly faster volume rendering capability using the latest Pentium III processor technology, which allows medical professionals to view and navigate images more quickly.

Vital Images collaborated with Gordon Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of radiology and director of the Computer Aided Diagnostics Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and his research associates in the integration of the tumour volume measurement application into Vitrea 2.

"We have been researching tumour volume analysis methods for many years", stated Dr. Harris. "It has been our goal to bring these capabilities out of the research lab into day-to-day clinical use. Our co-developed application combines our tumour volume analysis technology with both speed and ease-of-use in an advanced imaging product."

Also, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued Vital Images Inc. Patent No. 6,130,671 entitled "Volume Rendering Lighting Using Dot Product Methodology". The novel patent protects a mechanism for calculating simulated lighting in the 3D images produced by Vitrea software. Specifically, the mechanism permits "two-sided lighting" in volume-rendered images, which is crucial for viewing image data which represents edges of bright as well as dark regions. These include producing simulated endoscopic images of contrast-filled blood vessels, the gastro-intestinal tract or urinary system.

Vital Images' ongoing focus is to develop new imaging applications for major health issues, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and orthopaedics. The company developed the mechanism for two-sided lighting to address the customers' need for natural-looking images inside the human aorta, according to Vincent Argiro, Ph.D., Vital Images' chief technology officer and inventor of the patent.

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.

Vital Images Inc. markets its products to the health care providers and to the 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. More details on the Vitrea software are available in the VMW March 2000 article Vital Images to receive patent for automated protocol selection in Vitrea 2 software.

Leslie Versweyveld

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