Diagnostic imaging, cardiology  

GE Healthcare and Volcano Corporation to develop cath lab with X-ray and ultrasound

5 November 2005

Waukesha, Wis. and Rancho Cordova, Calif., USA. GE Healthcare and Volcano Corporation have announced a collaboration agreement to develop a state-of-the-art digital cardiovascular imaging system with fully integrated intravascular ultrasound imaging (IVUS) capabilities.

The integration of GE's best-of-class Innova all-digital X-ray cath lab system with Volcano's new PC-based IVUS platform, is intended to give interventional cardiologists a clear view of coronary and peripheral vessel morphology. This visualization capability is intended to assist clinicians in determining the extent of cardiovascular disease and in performing therapeutic procedures such as stent placement. This is also intended to help physicians determine the length of lesion and stent length.

Schematic of IVUS components and images integrated into GE Innova Cath Lab. (PRNewsFoto)

Laura King, GE Healthcare's Global Vice President and General Manager, Interventional, Cardiology and Surgery, said, "GE has sought opportunities to integrate IVUS technology directly into our award-winning, industry-leading Innova systems. Until the development of Volcano's PC-based IVUS product, this leapfrog in technology has not been possible. We are excited to work with another market leader to bring clinically relevant value to the cath lab."

Scott Huennekens, President & CEO of Volcano Corporation, said "We have a shared philosophy with GE: success in the marketplace is founded on providing solutions that are both state-of-the-art and simple to use. Technology for technology's sake is not the answer. We are dedicated to meeting the clinical needs of our customers in a way that also simplifies their lives and makes their own cath lab operations more efficient and more cost-effective — all while allowing the physician to improve patient care. This partnership is squarely focused on those goals."

Volcano's latest PC-based IVUS platform dramatically reduces the size, weight and noise of the IVUS console, allowing the unit to be easily attached to the patient table, in the control room or in other areas outside of the daily traffic pattern of the cath lab. The integrated user interface is set apart from current stand-alone systems that impose many practical limitations on the regular use of IVUS. These factors will play a large part in making it possible to develop the new integrated hardware and software architecture.

With more than 1,200 Innova all-digital X-ray systems installed worldwide, GE and Volcano are poised to facilitate greater utilization of IVUS to further guide patient management. As the clinical relevance of IVUS has increased, particularly with the recent innovations in IVUS-based on-line tissue characterization and IVUS/angio image co-registration, so too has the market need for an integrated, easy-to-use system.


Columbia University, USA

Gregg Stone, MD, professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons commented, "We use IVUS nearly every day in our clinical practice. We do so because IVUS gives us information about vessel morphology that you can't get anywhere else — and it highlights angiographically silent or ambiguous disease that you just can't see on angiograms. We do this in spite of the fact that IVUS has historically been fairly cumbersome to use — with a stand-alone cart and stand-alone images on a remote monitor. An integrated system from Volcano and GE has the potential to increase the user-friendliness of IVUS and we would welcome such a system."

Aalst Cardiovascular Centre, Belgium

Dr. William Wijns, MD, Co-Director, Cardiovascular Centre, Aalst, Belgium, elaborated, "When you have a catheterized patient on the table, often in the midst of an acute syndrome, you need your diagnostic and therapeutic tools at the ready ... there for quick and simple implementation. Many times it is just not an option to ask the staff to roll in the IVUS, turn it on and wait for the system to boot up. We have been asking for this advance from the IVUS companies for some time now. We are thrilled that Volcano and GE have recognized the need and are investing in developing this product.

Minneapolis Heart Institute and Foundation, USA

"IVUS, advanced 3D angiographic imaging techniques and non-invasive imaging technologies such as MDCT/MSCTA and MRI hold the promise of unlocking many important questions surrounding the cause and progression of coronary and peripheral artery disease. Integrating information from these modalities will permit a better understanding of this disease. The integration of IVUS with angiographic systems — as envisioned in this agreement between GE and Volcano — is an important step in making truly integrated imaging feasible and practical for a wide array of physicians" commented Robert S. Schwartz, MD, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Foundation.


The system will require FDA clearance in the US and elsewhere and will be co-marketed by the GE and Volcano sales and marketing organizations in the US, Europe, certain markets in Asia and other world markets. GE will also collaborate with Volcano to provide unparalleled cath lab design, installation and field repair/service of this new system. Current GE cath lab customers can modify existing cath lab rooms with the new integrated IVUS system. Customers will be able to contract with one vendor, GE, for their purchasing, installation and field service needs.

Prototypes of the new device were on display at the 17th Annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference in Washington DC, in October.


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