UK-based GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company, announced that it has developed a new, miniaturized cardiovascular ultrasound so small and lightweight it will transform the way doctors see and treat heart disease.
GE claims its new Vivid i is the world's first miniaturized cardiovascular ultrasound system. According to Omar Ishrak, president and CEO of GE Healthcare's Ultrasound unit, this new system will establish a completely new standard of efficiency for physicians. "The mobility of Vivid i will enable physicians to deliver care to the patient wherever it's needed. The freedom laptops and PDAs have brought to business will now be available to healthcare."
The device's portable and wireless design that weighs 30 times less than full-featured, larger-scale systems. GE says its engineers developed the Vivid i by miniaturizing the components of a premium echocardiography system weighing more than 400 lb (180 kg), to provide a portable system weighing only 10 lb (less than 5 kg).
GE also claims the portable system makes it possible for patients to receive diagnostic exams anywhere, including bedside, as opposed being transported to an imaging lab in a hospital. The unit's portability also makes it ideal for urgent care areas, including the operating room, critical care, and for mobile imaging services, and outpatient clinics.
Vivid i's wireless capabilities enable physicians to transfer files instantly from the system to other physicians for consultation. As a result, GE says physicians will be able to more quickly diagnose and treat patients and help ensure their patients are more informed and involved in their healthcare decisions.
According to Joe Hogan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Technologies, the increasing miniaturization of ultrasound technology allows physicians to treat patients in the most effective, least invasive manner possible.
"Vivid i addresses one of the biggest challenges physicians face in caring for their patients - access to complete, real-time information," said Mr. Hogan. "As GE Healthcare continues to improve on the portability and convenience of ultrasound technology, I believe it will become the visual stethoscope of the future."
GE received 510k clearances from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Vivid i in early 2004. The system will be commercially available in fall 2004.
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