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ATL Ultrasound Announces Medical Imaging Discovery

ATL Ultrasound Announces Breakthrough In Medical Imaging With Sonoct (Tm) Real Time Compound

In what is being described by leading radiologists as the most important development in ultrasound in more than a decade, ATL Ultrasound, a worldwide leader in diagnostic ultrasound, unveiled a sophisticated new ultrasound technology which will significantly improve the modality's effectiveness as a diagnostic tool.

The new technology, called SonoCT Real-Time Compound Imaging, compiles up to nine times the information of conventional ultrasound, delivering clear, crisp ultrasound images for significantly improved diagnostic information. The ability to visualize pathologies such as breast lesions has taken a great leap forward, adding a vital ability to identify smaller lesions sooner.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin rnh/19990927/HSM030-a http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin rnh/19990927/HSM030-b )

Compound imaging, common in modalities such as CT and MR, obtains images from different viewing angles, then combines them into a single image. Until now ultrasound systems have lacked the computer power necessary to acquire, process and display compound images in real time. Significant advances in processor speed and imaging processing now make practical implementation of this capability in ultrasound possible.

According to Dr. Christopher Merritt, M.D., Professor of Radiology and Director of Special Projects, Thomas Jefferson University, and one of the world's most renowned radiologists, "What has impressed me the most about SonoCT Real-time Compound Imaging is the amount of information we are seeing. We now realize what we were not seeing with conventional ultrasound and it is quite significant. In the last five years we've begun to be able to better visualize solid breast masses with ultrasound. Compound imaging is improving that ability dramatically and giving a major boost to ultrasound breast imaging."

ATL Ultrasound began intensive development of SonoCT Real-Time Compound Imaging to overcome image "artifacts" inherent in conventional ultrasound that compromise image quality and consequently impact diagnosis, examination time and accuracy. Interference such as speckle and refractive shadows make visualization of tissue difficult with conventional ultrasound.

The new technology improves image quality by suppressing these artifacts. According to Dr. Jacques Souquet, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of ATL Ultrasound, "What is really happening here is that we are going from conventional ultrasound which offers a single line of sight to a very advanced ultrasound which offers multiple lines of sight. It is like the difference between one person looking at an object straight on versus nine people looking at the same object from nine perspectives and combining them into one from a single perspective."

The results are profound, dramatically improving image contrast and detail resolution, enhancing visualization of the human body in real time. Marsha M. Neumyer, BS, RVT, Assistant Professor and Technical Director of the Vascular Laboratory at The Hershey Medical Center described the results of using SonoCT in a particular study, "Looking at this carotid lesion on other high end ultrasound systems in our lab, we were unable to see any plaque borders with gray scale alone. However, using SonoCT we were able to see homogeneous plaque suggestive of plaque hemorrhage. In this instance, SonoCT was able to provide us with diagnostic information our other systems could not."

Clinical evaluations conducted in medical centers around the world show that initially, clinical benefits will be most fully realized in breast, musculoskeletal, vascular, and small parts applications. SonoCT Real-time Compound Imaging has been shown to have a particularly profound ability to visualize structures and pathologies in the breast that were previously difficult to visualize and might otherwise go undetected. It has also produced striking improvements in ability to see biopsy needles in the breast, a constant source of difficulty. This is important in guiding the needle to the intended tissue, enhancing diagnostic confidence, speeding the exam and providing the patient with physical and psychological comfort.

SonoCT Real Time Compound Imaging is available as an upgrade on the industry-leading HDI(R) 5000 System. Introduced in July 1997, the HDI 5000 system is a powerful ultrasound system that applies supercomputed processing, patented blood flow imaging technology and adaptive system intelligence to diagnostic ultrasound. With an installed base of over 1500, the HDI 5000 system continues to rapidly expand in markets throughout the world. Since 1988, ATL has led in the development and distribution of all-digital ultrasound systems, the standard today in high performance diagnostic ultrasound. The advent of SonoCT technology as an upgrade is validation of ATL Ultrasound's commitment to supporting its customer base with cutting edge technology.

ATL Ultrasound, a Philips Medical Systems company, has headquarters in Bothell, Washington. ATL is a worldwide leader in diagnostic medical ultrasound systems, and has annual revenues of more than $465 million. Philips Medical Systems is part of Royal Philips Electronics, one of the world's largest electronics companies. Press releases and other information are available on ATL's Web site at www.atl.com.

ENDS....


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