Speeding up cardiac ultrasound and reducing sonographer injuries

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | March 02, 2020
Cardiology Ultrasound
GE's Vivid E95
From the March 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Most cardiac ultrasound exams today are conducted in a manual process that leaves plenty of room for improvement. The latest solutions entering the market aim to address some of those challenges while also ensuring the health and comfort of the sonographer behind the machine.

“Such a process is subjective, time-consuming, error-prone, cumbersome and highly dependent on the users' experience,” said Hila Goldman Aslan, CEO and co-founder of DiA Imaging Analysis. “Analyzing cardiac ultrasound images is even more challenging due to the fact that the heart is a moving organ.”

DiA introduced its LVivo Cardiac Toolbox as a way to leverage pattern recognition, deep learning and machine learning algorithms to improve image analysis. The Toolbox includes solutions for automatic ejection fraction measurement, automatic strain analysis, segmental left ventricle wall motion analysis and biplane wall motion abnormalities analysis.

The software is vendor-neutral and leading vendors like GE Healthcare, Konica Minolta and IBM Watson have partnered with DiA over the past couple of years to offer this technology on their systems. In addition to DiA’s technology, GE also offers automated Doppler measurements on its Vivid E95 cardiovascular ultrasound system. These measurements are traditionally time consuming because the sonographer has to manually trace the Doppler spectrum.

“We have fully automated that, so basically the machine is doing it for you, which gives you a lot of productivity, better reproducibility and since it’s automatic you can create several upcycles and [an] average,” said Dagfinn Saetre, general manager of cardiovascular ultrasound at GE.

That last part is often not done with the manual approach because it’s too time consuming, he added.

Hitachi Healthcare Americas offers Dual Gate Doppler technology to automatically set pulse wave (PW), tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) or PW/TDI cursors in two different places. It then generates a full Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analysis.

The company also recently introduced its HemoDynamic Structural Intelligence (HDSI) package. By pressing a button, the software generates left atrium, left ventricle and right atrium volumes as well as fraction area change, ejection fraction and global longitudinal strain quantification and measurements.

“The sonographers are really good artists and they want to have that picture represent how skilled they are,” said Thomas Wolk, executive director of cardiovascular ultrasound at Hitachi. “The machine should really help them in their administrative task, and when you think about measurements, it’s an administrative task.”

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