Since its gradual development, from initial concepts in the 1950s to experimental machines in the 1970s and 1980s, MRI based imaging in its various iterations has grown to become a multi-billion global industry, with a market that continues to increase as an aging population feeds the need for heart, cancer, and neurological related diagnostics.
Hospitals all over the world demand the machines, given their ability to reveal the internal structures of the body in significant detail, but it's a technology that comes at a price. Even small scale systems can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, with large scale high-power systems going for millions. Add to this the associated facility and operational costs and it's easy to see why hospital budgets are being pushed through the roof, and why healthcare reforms are putting increased pressure on the purchase and use of MRI technology.
All of this spells a tremendous opportunity for VentriPoint Diagnostics, a Seattle-based imaging technology company capitalizing on an invention already grabbing part of the massive MRI market. Their proprietary system gives inexpensive ultrasound imaging the power to replace capabilities previously limited to MRI. The company's Angelo's (VMS™) 2D ultrasound imaging system uses anatomical "dots" to build a 3D model of the heart, calculating the functional information of heart volumes, cardiac output, and ejection fraction that is required by a cardiologist to determine heart function status.
Unlike an MRI, all of this critical information is acquired in 10 minutes using conventional 2D ultrasound, analyzed via a patented system known as knowledge-based reconstruction (NYSE:KBR). The net result is the elimination of all the disadvantages of an MRI scan: a long wait list, the one-hour scan time, the claustrophobic environment, the requirement of a general anesthetic for children, a lengthy heart analysis process, and the need for a second trip to the hospital. Most of all, it means less use of MRI equipment and supporting processes, with all of the cost savings that represents.
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