Ascension tracking adds third dimension to GE's new ultrasound system

Burlington 20 January 2009GE Healthcare has launched a new ultrasound system, LOGIQ E9, a powerful imaging system used for radiology and vascular applications. It is enabled in part by Ascension's 3D tracking technology. The E9 includes Volume Navigation, an innovative tool to maximize the system's new agile ultrasound architecture: Fusion to combine the advantages of real-time ultrasound imaging with pre-acquired CT, MR, or PET images, and a GPS-like technology that tracks and marks a patient's anatomy during the ultrasound exam.


Ascension Technology, a long time developer of magnetic tracking devices for medical imaging and instrument guidance, makes the "GPS-like technology". It instantly localizes the position and orientation of the ultrasound scanhead as it sweeps across a region of interest. The tracking allows clinicians to create and view three-dimensional images of scanned organs, make accurate measurements along the path of the sweep, and mark as well as view potential pathologies in different scan planes.

Ascension's DC magnetic sensors enable real-time tracking of the LOGIQ E9's scanhead for volumetric measurement and fusion of pre-acquired and real-time imaging planes. The tracking allows clinicians to view clear, crisp three-dimensional images of anatomical data. Tracking electronics reside in the E9's base station and sensors snap onto the ultrasound scanhead for 3D localization.

GE's new image fusion capability takes advantage of the tracker's real-time measurement of the oblique angles of the scanhead's sweep across the patient's anatomy. Tracked planes can then be fused with pre-acquired CT, PET, or MRI scans to overlay one imaging modality onto another or compare the two side-by-side. The process combines the best features of each modality to improve procedural vision and real-time guidance. According to GE's Vice President of Diagnostic Ultrasound and Information Technology, Terri Bresenham, "the LOGIQ E9 addresses the biggest challenge in ultrasound radiology and vascular care - how to leverage clinical images from previous diagnostic imaging studies with interventional or diagnostic ultrasound."

To meet GE's fusion requirements, Ascension developed 3D Guidance driveBAY, the world's fastest magnetic motion tracker. It lets users select update rates as high as 420 times per second for each of four miniaturized sensors. For unobtrusiveness and ease of use, sensors range in size from 8 mm to 0,9 mm in diameter. All electronics conveniently fit into the drive bay of the E9's base computer and uses its on-board power. Sensors are tracked in all attitudes without losing data due to occlusions.

driveBAY employs pulsed-DC tracking technology to control the distorting effects of non-magnetic metals in the immediate working area. It is the only magnetic tracker unaffected by common nearby metals, such as stainless steel (300 series), titanium, and, with user selectable frequency adjustment, aluminum. Advanced control techniques provide high signal-to-noise performance for stable, quiet measurements. driveBAY also eliminates jitter in measurements caused by "power-line" noise sources - without reducing its fast, dynamic tracking.

GE Healthcare's broad range of products and services enable health care providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and other conditions earlier. GE Healthcare is a $17 billion unit of General Electric Company. Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46.000 people committed to serving health care professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. More company news can be found in the VMW October 2008 article Grameen Health to establish independent collaborations with Pfizer, GE Healthcare, and Mayo Clinic to create sustainable health care delivery models for the developing world.

Based in Burlington, Vermont, USA, Ascension is a world expert in magnetic and optical products for real-time tracking, navigation and guidance in surgical navigation and 3D localization procedures. Its new generation of 3D Guidance tracking devices is a key enabling technology for many minimally invasive procedures. More information is available at the Ascension Technology website or in the VMW December 2008 article Ascension to show magnetic sensors for new biopsy needle and bronchoscope procedures at RSNA 2008.

Source: Ascension Technology

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