Ultrasound: First Line of Inquiry?

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I look for ciphers on bus and taxi lines at the RSNA. Here’s how it works: Strike up a conversation and find out what others are seeking in their annual pilgrimage. Then filter everything you see through those conversations. On Day One, I sat next to a radiologist who hoped to sharpen his MSK ultrasound skills during the week.

Was it a coincidence that vendors appear to perceive opportunity in this modality as well? Samsung built a massive presence around its acquisition of the Medison technology, suggesting that this is the first of what will become a line of diagnostic imaging modalities for the consumer electronics giant (and possibly setting a record for the real-to-WIP ratio in a booth, ever).

Esaote, the Italian imaging company, showed its MyLabTwice ultrasound scanner, a premium cart-based scanner with a wireless portable onboard, enabling the radiologist or sonographer to sprint to the NICU or ICU for a quick scan, explains Gordon Parhar, ultrasound marketing director. The system also features a 22 MHz high-frequency transducer that was initially developed for rheumatology and is excellent for visualizing swelling, with good visualization under the skin line.

I also saw a completely wireless ultrasound system—including a wireless transducer—in Siemens’ booth. “It is designed with the intention of being used in interventional procedures and guidance,” explains Michael Cannon, VP & GM, ultrasound. When you are working in a sterile field, performing needle biopsies, vascular nerve blocks, or catheter or central line placements, the cable is a major impediment, he adds.

Over the last three quarters, the ultrasound market grew 7%, reports Nancy Plambeck, Toshiba’s ultrasound director, who adds that Toshiba’s ultrasound sales grew considerably more than that. Plambeck was celebrating the first anniversary of its APLIO 500 and 300 introductions by bringing back its Reliance Technology Protection package, extended warranties for both products with software upgrades included.

All vendors I spoke with reported growth in ultrasound use and sales.