Siemens exhibits ultrasound and cardiac imaging technology to lead the way into the future

Vienna, Atlanta 14 March 2006Siemens Medical Solutions remains true to its course of innovation. The company works continuously on future technologies and solutions for ultrasound imaging. The newest innovations are presented by Siemens at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna. Siemens is highlighting Cadence Contrast Pulse Sequencing (CPS) technology which provides excellent contrast detection and good specificity, and is also the enabling technology for molecular medicine. Two years since its first installation, the SOMATOM Sensation 64 slice computed tomography (CT) system from Siemens Medical Solutions continues to help cardiologists save lives. In addition, early research with the SOMATOM Definition indicates increased visualization in cardiac applications, two trends that prove the growing power of CT in cardiac care. Siemens Medical Solutions is featuring its current systems and the future of CT at the 55th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC).


In Vienna, the newest generation transducers are being shown, surpassing their predecessors in ergonomics and application. Another technological advance is HRCF or High Resolution Colour Flow. This unique technology applies chirp-coded excitation to Colour Doppler improving the quality of examinations. All innovations and systems from Siemens add to the continuous effort to simplify system operation for the user, to improve their work flow, and to expand the application range for ultrasound technology.

Cadence CPS technology provides excellent contrast sensitivity and specificity to ultrasound molecular medicine. Preclinical studies show the technology's considerable potential for additional clinical information in evaluation of inflammation, angiogenesis, and thrombosis. The upcoming Encompass III release on the Acuson Sequoia will make CPS available for endocavitary use, expanding its clinical utility. Transducers have seen technological advances as well. It is expected that silicon ultrasound technology will provide for efficient 4D imaging in a broad range of applications.

This provides the physician even greater detailed visualization during conventional and volumetric 4D ultrasound imaging than previously possible. Added to this plus are considerable work flow improvements, e.g. the same transducer can be used for both, 2D and 4D applications. In general, these silicon-based transducers will be more ergonomic, and therefore more comfortable to use. Siemens is beginning to integrate this technology into its product spectrum, the respective products will be commercially available in the next two years.

The introduction of the Encompass II release for the Sequoia ultrasound platform is characterized by High Resolution Colour Flow (HRCF), an innovation that greatly improves spatial resolution and sensitivity through the use of chirp-coded excitation applied to color Doppler. The outstanding performance of HRCF will be specifically benefit the following applications: abdomen and obstetrics, kidney examinations as well as examinations of peripheral vessels, tumours and smaller structures such as the breast, thyroid gland, and testicles.

"Our strategy consists of integrated applications and product platforms with the newest applications that effectively improve the work flow of our customers", explained Klaus Hambüchen, head of Siemens Medical's ultrasound division. "Especially the introduction of Encompass II with its noticeable improvements in efficiency and performance in clinical work flow is of special benefit to our customers. The known excellence of Acuson Sequoia's image quality is the greatest advantage we can offer them."

Credited with the world's largest installed base of 64-slice CT, with more than 600 sites worldwide, Siemens' CT technologies are experts in non-invasive diagnostics. These systems provide cardiac care professionals with the resources needed to increase departmental productivity and deliver high-quality, cost-effective patient care. Innovations including the STRATON X-ray tube, z-Sharp Technology and the new CT Clinical Engines are a few of the reasons why Siemens' CT has been identified as the next generation of cardiac imaging. These technologies provide an early and less painful look at possible heart problems, as compared to invasive procedures, with fast turnaround time that facilitates faster intervention and treatment when necessary.

"CT coronary angiography has changed the standard approach to a patient at risk of cardiovascular disease", stated Norman E. Lepor, M.D., director of coronary imaging, Westside Medical Imaging, Beverly Hills. "We've moved from the world of relative risk assessment to defining the absolute risk of a patient suffering from coronary artery disease, allowing for earlier, and more targeted and aggressive treatment to prevent cardiac events."

Continuing this trend and setting new standards in cardiac diagnosis, Siemens SOMATOM Definition, the world's first dual source CT system, can image patients with high or irregular heart rates without beta blocker medication that have been previously needed to slow a patient's heart. The system also enables physicians to better identify and characterize plaque, an early indicator of heart disease.

"With more than 71 million adults in the United States having one or more types of cardiovascular disease, the need to detect and diagnose conditions earlier is evident", stated Scott Goodwin, vice president, CT Division, Siemens Medical Solutions. "Siemens SOMATOM Definition brings cardiac imaging to the next level and meets the demands of today's cardiologists, enabling physicians to diagnose disease earlier and more cost-effectively."

Introduced in November 2005, the SOMATOM Definition is faster than every beating heart and capable of imaging full cardiac detail with as much as 50 percent less radiation exposure compared to traditional cardiac CT scans. Studies are already being conducted to test the imaging capabilities of dual source CT, including one focusing on evaluating contrast enhanced coronary artery visualization without motion artifacts. Early research from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg that recently appeared in the European Journal of Radiology has indicated that high and constant temporal resolution, independent of heart rate, permits imaging of the coronary arteries without motion artifacts in a substantially increased number of patients, as compared to earlier generation scanners. Visualization of the coronary arteries was successful in all patients in a consecutively scanned population.

The SOMATOM Definition has enhanced capabilities not previously available from any type of non-invasive diagnostic imaging technology. This dual source CT system uses two X-ray sources and two detectors simultaneously, compared to all other CT systems, which use only one source and detector. With 0,33 seconds per rotation, electrocardiogram- (ECG) synchronized imaging can be performed with 83-millisecond temporal resolution, independent of the heart rate, resulting in motion-free cardiac images. Equipped with z-Sharp Technology, the STRATON X-ray tube, and CT Clinical Engines such as Cardiology and Acute Care, the SOMATOM Definition has the tools necessary to enable a new gold standard in earlier detection, faster evaluation, and more precise follow-up of disease states for CT imaging.

Siemens Medical Solutions also has introduced syngo CardioFusion at the 55th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Atlanta. This unified platform for visualization of cardiac images from hybrid imaging technologies optimizes the cardiac clinical work flow to enable enhanced diagnostic capabilities.

"Cardiac care is a necessity for a growing portion of the population", stated Michael Reitermann, president, Molecular Imaging Division, Siemens Medical Solutions. "Therefore, it is important for physicians to have access to excellent diagnostic technologies. This latest innovation in cardiac visualization facilitates cardiac patient diagnosis, and management, which is especially useful for complex studies."

syngo CardioFusion is based on the syngo 3D task card to provide a familiar working environment for the end user. The technology makes it quick and easy to view high quality images of the heart. syngo CardioFusion provides several powerful features to streamline the cardiology visualization work flow, including:

  • One-Click Heart Isolation, an advanced feature that provides enhanced visualization of the heart by allowing the user to isolate the heart from the surrounding tissue.
  • Automatic Registration between datasets is initiated upon loading of two datasets.
  • Advanced Visualization/Fused VRT(2), which is a new display capability that fuses volume rendering techniques (VRT) of two imaging modalities (i.e. Computed Tomography (CT) VRT fused with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) VRT). The transparency of the VRTs can be adjusted as desired.
  • Re-orientation that allows the user to easily manipulate images to conform to American Heart Association display guidelines. Efficiency is enhanced through a 3x3 layout and real-time visualization of re-orientation.
  • Reslicing, which simplifies generation of parallel ranges along the cardiac image planes. Outputs may include any combination of short axis, vertical long axis and horizontal long axis as PET, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), CT or fused images.

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG with headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Erlangen, Germany, is one of the world's largest suppliers to the health care industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, health care information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes.

From imaging systems for diagnosis, to therapy equipment for treatment, to patient monitors to hearing instruments and beyond, Siemens innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people across the globe, while improving operational efficiencies and optimizing work flow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors' offices. Employing approximately 33.000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7,6 billion euro, orders of 8,6 billion euro and group profit of 976 million euro for fiscal 2005.

Leslie Versweyveld

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