Kretz Technik

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

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Roberta Speyer:  “This is Roberta Speyer reporting from the RSNA – Radiological Society of North America in Chicago 2000.  I’m here with George Kabassakalis from Kretz Technik in Austria.  George, could you tell us a little bit about what you do at Kretz and about their product lineup and the new technologies you have in the field of gynecologic and fetal ultrasound scanning?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Yes, thank you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words about Kretz Technik.  What I’m doing is I’m the worldwide Business Director of Kretz Technik but that’s not the most important thing, the most important thing is what Kretz Technik is doing, as you certainly know, Kretz Technik is pioneering the ultrasound society for fifteen years now.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Wasn’t Kretz one of the originators of 3-D ultrasound?”

George Kabassakalis:  “This is one of the patents that Kretz had introduced into this market besides other possibilities in ultrasound for fifteen years now, as I was telling you.  Three-D has been an invention by us for a long time, it started in 1989 and it’s now on the fourth generation of the 3-D machines.  This is our fourth generation machine.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Where is most of the distribution of the Kretz equipment?  Is that mostly centered in Europe?”

George Kabassakalis:  “As you know, Kretz is part of the Medison federation of companies and we sell these in Europe under the Kretz name and in other places around the world under the Medison name.  Europe is one of the most important markets for us but Asia and Latin America are also a very important market.  We’re now getting into the United States market with this extraordinary machine that I was talking about which is offering 3-D in volume and essentially the 4-D on real-time.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Is that the machine that we’re sitting in front of?”

George Kabassakalis:  “That’s right.”

Roberta Speyer:  “George, tell me about this machine.  It looks like a spaceship, it’s really cool but what’s under the hood?  Why is it a good machine for obstetricians and gynecologists, and should they have it in their office?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Thank you for asking the question.  This is a machine dedicated to this specific application - obstetrics and gynecology because it provides a lot of information in diagnosis capability specifically on risk and malformation of the fetus.  This is a fourth generation of 3-D and 4-D real-time machine.”

Roberta Speyer:  “What’s 4-D?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Four-D is 3-D volume acquisition on real-time.  With real-time we have 16 volume images per second, and I’m talking about volume images per second, this is extremely important to underline and that corresponds to something like 10,000 written pages per second.”

Roberta Speyer:  “Does that mean that you can actually look at something moving?”

George Kabassakalis:  “More than moving, you can definitely look at the whole action in real-time, all the features, and you can also see the fetal heart which is an extremely important part of the diagnosis in the fetal approach.”

Roberta Speyer:  “George, could you pull something up on this machine so we could look at it?  We’re back again, and George and I have setup an opportunity for the viewers at to see some 4-D scanning.  They actually have an apparatus over here that emulates a fetus in utero which we’ll get a shot of in a minute but I’m going to let the camera zoom in and George explain to you a little bit about what you’re seeing.”

George Kabassakalis:  This frame simulates the movement of a fetus, inside this frame you have a fetus and as you can see you have the transducer which is getting all the images in real-time, and we have this real-time 4-D image on the screen.  As I was saying before, we’re reconstructing 16 volume images per second and that corresponds to 10,000 written pages per second.  This is the very high-end calculation possibility to give the doctor the ability to make a perfect diagnosis particularly in this specific application.”

Roberta Speyer:  “George that was a very interesting demonstration of the 4-D.  I’m curious though, is this application for the average obstetric and gynecologic office or is this more suited to maternal fetal medicine practice?”

George Kabassakalis:  “It’s certainly for the maternal fetal medicine practice, nevertheless, this can also fit for the private office as this machine brings a lot of information, and it’s really valuable for the diagnosis of the health of the fetus.”

Roberta Speyer:  “How many scans would an obstetrician have to be doing in a month to warrant having a piece of equipment that had this much horsepower?”

George Kabassakalis:  “I don’t have the exact figure to give you right now but I think the average normal practice can afford this machine.”

Roberta Speyer:  “This is certainly a very interesting piece of equipment, George.  Do you have other things in the lineup besides the VOLUSON 730, does it have a big brother or a little sister?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Absolutely, 730 is the high-end machine that we have with, as I was telling you, this 4-D real-time capability.  Although the VOLUSON 530 machine has been around for a couple of years now, it’s really the machine that we sold quite a lot around the world and is the one that made us known in the trade as a 3-D leader in this market.  In the Medison-Kretz family we also have the 9900 SonoAce which is another little sister or brother of this range of products providing, again, 3-D capability.”

Roberta Speyer:  “And perhaps that lower price point for those that are being a little more conservative in the amount of money they can invest in a machine?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Exactly, there is a range of products according to the needs of the clinic, hospital, or the private practitioner.”

Roberta Speyer:  “When I was at the FIGO meeting in Washington, D.C. in September, I had the pleasure of not only interviewing Professor Campbell but we watched his presentation on the history of ultrasound, and he mentioned Kretz in his presentation as being one of the leading pioneers.  I understand you have quite a museum over there of the early ultrasound equipment, is that correct?”

George Kabassakalis:  “Absolutely, Professor Campbell used these machines.  Professor Campbell was really very excited by presenting these two features during the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gyecology (ISUOG) meeting held in Zagreb (Croatia) October 4 - 10.

Roberta Speyer:  “I would certainly like to get the opportunity to come to Austria and see the Kretz History of Ultrasound Museum and collection of equipment you have over there.  It certainly sounds like a little trip for our president so I look forward to seeing you soon George in Austria.  Thank you.”

George Kabassakalis:  “I would be delighted to have you with us in Austria and show you this museum that has really very nice things to see.”

Roberta Speyer:  “You’re not going to try to use any of this stuff on me, are you?  We’re through with George so we’re going to let him go back to Austria.  Thank you so much for taking this time to talk with us, and I have to tell everybody, I don’t know what these things do but this is the coolest looking one anyone’s selling.  So if you want one that really looks cool, buy the Medison Kretz VOLUSON 730, it’s blue.”

George Kabassakalis:  “Thank you.”

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