ATL Ultrasound

Article Conference CoverageFrom Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)Chicago, Illinois, November 2000

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Roberta Speyer:  “Hello, this is Roberta Speyer, and I’m here at the Radiological Society of North American meeting – RSNA in Chicago 2000.  I have the pleasure of talking to Jim Brown who is a representative of ATL Ultrasound.  Jim, today we’d like to ask you a little bit about what types of new technology ATL has for the obstetrician and gynecologist and in particular for the maternal fetal medicine physician?  What’s in your lineup, and what’s your heavy hitter?”

Jim Brown:  “We’ve just introduced our second generation SonoCT capability on our HDI 5000 system.  This is really offering in a fundamentally new way to acquire real-time images in obstetrics.”

Roberta Speyer:  “What’s different about it?  Why is this system more effective?  Tell the folks at home.”

Jim Brown:  “Instead of doing a single line of sight which conventional ultrasound does, we’re actually doing multiple lines of sight.  This acquires fundamentally more tissue information than the conventional ultrasound, and the more tissue information allows us to reduce the speckle noise artifacts and to improve a visualization of structures in the baby.”

Roberta Speyer:  “How new is this technology?”

Jim Brown:  “We introduced our first generation last year and we have subsequently expanded the capability in the applications to have our second generation.  We’ve also now integrated our SonoCT technology with 3-D capability.”

Roberta Speyer:  “So in the second generation you’ve made some improvements, was 3-D one of those new applications?”

Jim Brown:  “Yes, we added 3-D capability onto the HDI 5000.”

Roberta Speyer:  “What do you see in the future, and will there be add-ons to machines that people already have in their offices?  Will they be able to upgrade to newer technology?”

Jim Brown:  “Certainly any owner of an HDI 3500 or HDI 5000 can upgrade to this new capability and this new technology.”

Roberta Speyer:  “So is this machine appropriate for an obstetrician or gynecologist in practice or is this something that is really focused for the maternal fetal medicine and high-risk pregnancy market?”

Jim Brown:  “Our HDI 5000 is really focused on the physician that does maternal fetal medicine; it does high-risk pregnancies.  We do have a system for the obstetrical office practice which is our Ultramark 400C, and that product is an all-digital product which offers color Doppler and 3-D capabilities for the office practice.”

Roberta Speyer:  “When an office based physician is making a decision about a purchase of new equipment, what would you want them to know is the message of why they should be looking at ATL products?  What’s the advantage to them - are there certain ways that they can purchase this product or are there certain services that you provide that you feel are unique and beneficial to them?”

Jim Brown:  “ATL is a full solution company, in other words, we provide instrumentation that offers full solutions for anybody doing obstetrical imaging or gynecologic imaging and it’s certainly for the office based practice or for the maternal fetal medicine type practice.  We feel we offer the best ultrasound capability which offers leading edge state of the art imaging.”

Roberta Speyer:  “How’s the meeting here at RSNA going for you, has it been exciting?  I see a lot of traffic coming through the booth here – there’s a lot of interest in the product.“

Jim Brown:  “Yes, we’re getting a lot of traffic here at the RSNA primarily to come over and look at the SonoCT and what that is offering now to our images.  It is really making a big breakthrough in what we can see in obstetrical imaging.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Now a lot of our visitors to are women that are pregnant and having scans and many of them have high-risk pregnancies themselves, what type of images are you providing for their physicians with SonoCT that are allowing for a better diagnosis?  What type of applications would this be used for?”

Jim Brown:  “Our clinical investigators that have had the SonoCT are reporting that they’re seeing structures with much greater clarity than ever before and they’re seeing these structures earlier than ever before.  That’s very important for high-risk pregnancies that the physicians can identify areas of the fetus, can make the appropriate diagnosis, and then manage the patient accordingly.  That’s really what is exciting with physicians out there, they’ve been able to see things with such great clarity and consistency plus earlier than ever before.”

Roberta Speyer:  “The early diagnosis certainly sounds like it was something that would be reaching out to the hearts of the parents that are having to have these scans because of the anxiety that they’re going through at that time waiting for some word about what the condition is, if it can be treated, and how it needs to be treated.  Really patient reassurance is something the physician that has SonoCT in their office can better offer their patients.”

Jim Brown:  “Exactly, if the physician has greater confidence in what he’s seeing on the screen, he can talk to the patient on how they’re going to manage that pregnancy, and I think that’s very important.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Is this equipment easy to use?” 

Jim Brown:  “It’s very easy to use.  We have one button approach to imaging which basically the user comes in, presses one button, the system sets itself up, and then to get into the SonoCT high resolution capability is a touch of another button.  So it really is relatively simple for the user, of course, it does require some experience to read the images and to see the images but…”

Roberta Speyer:  “But that’s where the maternal fetal medicine specialist and the high-risk pregnancy physician comes into play with a piece of equipment like that.  The interpretation and then the decision of how to follow-up with that information but if you don’t have good information to begin with, you really are working in the dark.”

Jim Brown:  “That’s right.”

Roberta Speyer:  “So SonoCT is allowing you to work in the light earlier.”

Jim Brown:  “Yes, that’s right.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Thank you very much for sharing with us.  I know you’re really busy and you have to get back to all the people who want to see this wonderful equipment but could I just ask you to explain to me a little bit about what we’re seeing over here on the screen?  Is this piece of equipment that we’re sitting right next to the SonoCT?”

Jim Brown:  “Yes, it is the HDI 5000 with SonoCT capability, and what we’re actually seeing is a fetus in three-dimension using the SonoCT technology.  Because of the increased information that we’re seeing in our volume, we really can reveal some exquisite images in 3-D.  Here we’re looking at the baby’s face and just a beautiful rendition of the fetal lips, nose, and facial structures.”

Roberta Speyer:  “As remarkable and beautiful as this is to be able to see an image, the traditional 2-D scans were more of just a slice, and now you’re actually putting together and seeing the entire face.  As compelling as that is, in a clinical diagnosis in a pregnancy where perhaps there’s an anomaly, I would certainly assume that this would give you better clarity when you were looking at the severity of a cleft lip or palate.  Is that the types of areas where they’re able to do a better diagnosis and be ready with a surgical pediatrician on hand after delivery to be able to deal with some of those things in a timely fashion?”

Jim Brown:  “It’s very well possible, usually the physician that is doing the imaging will use both the two-dimensional high resolution imaging plus three-dimensional to really document what the issue is, and certainly 3-D has aided in the ability to communicate to the patient as well as to the referring physician what the fetal anomaly is and so it certainly helps in the management of the patient.”

Roberta Speyer:  “You can be ready on the other end then with the other team members to basically catch the ball and maybe help that baby have a better outcome after the birth.”

Jim Brown:  “Exactly, it’s the combination of both that really gives the clear images that allows them to confidently proceed with the management of the patient.”

Roberta Speyer:  “I don’t know how easy it is for you folks back at home to see this but this is an absolutely marvelous image here.  I can certainly see where something like this is extremely beneficial to the profession, and I strongly urge anyone who’s looking into this type of technology to contact you at ATL.  I’m sure you’d be happy to bring out and do a demonstration for them and see this product right in their own office with their own clients.”

Jim Brown:  “Yes, thank you.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Thank you very much.”

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