Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center is First Hospital in World to Offer New 4D Cardiovascular Ultrasound Software from GE Healthcare

July 14, 2015

Milwaukee – Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, a national leader in heart and vascular care, is the first hospital in the world to implement a new 4D cardiovascular ultrasound technology that allows cardiologists to see chambers, valves, vessels, and other intricate structures of the heart with vivid, life-like quality.

The cSound software, designed by GE Healthcare for its newest ultrasound systems, was developed to help physicians more effectively diagnose conditions in patients while potentially reducing additional tests often required in treating heart conditions, such as heart failure.

cSound is a powerful, supercomputer-inspired software that uses algorithms to collect an infinite amount of data and then select pixel-by-pixel the most precise information to generate high-quality images of the heart.

"At Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, we treat some of the most complex heart conditions, and having access to best-in-class technology that can help deliver excellent patient care is important," said Bijoy Khanderia, MD, a cardiologist at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. "We believe the new cSound technology from GE Healthcare can better help us efficiently and accurately diagnose and develop treatment plans for people suffering from heart failure conditions."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S., killing more than 370,000 people annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 5.1 million people in the U.S. suffer heart failure, a common type of heart disease, which develops when the heart becomes damaged or weakened by diseases. Heart failure costs the American health care system an estimated $32 billion annually.

The test most frequently ordered by cardiologists to help diagnose heart ailments is transthoracic echocardiograms, or TTEs. Yet, according to a 2012 study, 10 to 15 percent of TTEs are inconclusive, which can result in additional testing at up to nearly three times the original cost to patients.

"Our engineers set out to address the challenge of inconclusive exams, to change the speed and precision of heart care. We're proud to see the result, cSound, in the expert hands of the clinicians at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center," said Al Lojewski, general manager of cardiovascular ultrasound at GE Healthcare. "We believe ultrasound has the potential to rapidly transform how patients are cared for over the next decade, especially in cardiovascular care. We envision a day when all cardiologists can see inside any heart, providing more directed care for each patient."

The technology is powered by beamforming, the next generation of transmitters and receivers, similar to those used on radar and Wi-Fi devices. Where traditional hardware-based machines create individual images that are layered together to create an overall image, software beamforming allows for all data to be analyzed together and produced into a singular, higher resolution image.

cSound is enhanced by HDlive, an app that uses advanced illumination, shadowing and superimposed depth to render a real-time, realistic visualization of the patient's heart. Images are shown on a Sony® high-definition OLED monitor, the newest evolution in wide screen monitors.

Aurora St. Luke's has been testing the new software for several months, and in late June, began using the new technology with patients. The medical center has four Vivid cardiovascular ultrasound systems with cSound, available to the heart and vascular team to serve patients.

Aurora Health Care's world-renowned heart and vascular team consists of specialists who use state-of-the-art tools and technologies to provide early diagnosis and advanced cardiac care, including surgical and non-surgical treatment options, as well as hybrid heart procedures.

About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics, 70 pharmacies and 30,000 amazing Caregivers. As evidenced by more than 400 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account.

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Matt Braun

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