VentriPoint Diagnostics, a Seattle-based heart analysis technology company, is in the process of changing the way hearts are analyzed, a significant venture given the size of the market. According to the American Heart Association, there are approximately 80 million U.S. adults experiencing some form of cardiovascular disease, representing an annual total cost of nearly $500 billion. However, in spite of advances in ultrasound, MRI, and other non-invasive diagnostic technologies, there are currently a number of problems with accurate heart diagnosis.
In particular, accurate analysis of what is called the "right heart" has been problematic. The right side of the heart is the part that pumps blood through the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The blood is then returned to the left side of the heart which proceeds to pump the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The left heart is thicker, since it has to pump the blood throughout the entire body, and tends to have a more consistent left ventricular shape. The right heart has a more complex ventricular shape, and is positioned in a way that can make proper imaging difficult. And yet the right ventricle is critical to heart function, and is important in evaluating clinical outcomes.
Ultrasound is a convenient and cost effective tool for analysis, but cardiologists do not use ultrasound for right heart analysis because the resulting images are blurry. With ultrasound, it's hard to see the right heart (front part of the heart) due to the small imaging window through the ribs. As a result, cardiologists use MRI scans, but that requires 1-2 hours of machine time, the use of a radiologist, and greater analysis time. It can also require additional MRI and cardiologist visits. For pediatric patients, the use of MRI equipment poses even more problems.
The VentriPoint Medical System (VMSTM) 2D ultrasound imaging approach eliminates the many disadvantages of expensive and complex MRI scans. VMS uses knowledge-based reconstruction (NYSE:KBR), essentially a library of disease specific hearts, which can be used with standard ultrasound images. The physician or sonographer identifies anatomical landmarks, using dots on a number of the 2D ultrasound views through the heart. The system also has a positioning sensor on the ultrasound probe to show where the 2D slice (plane) is in 3D space. In this way precise anatomical landmarks are located in 3D space. 25 of these points is all that is required to define the ventricle of the heart and to allow an accurate 3D image to be constructed using KBR.
VMS is the first cost-effective and accurate diagnostic tool for measuring right ventricle heart function. It is quick, easy, and much less expensive, and the company is now planning to expand the technology's application.
For additional information, visit VentriPoint.com
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