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4-D leads to breakthrough cardio technology

Photos by Matt Haas

January 2016


Dr. Bijoy Khandheria

Technology and health care giants in southeastern Wisconsin have joined forces in a huge way. Aurora Health Care and GE Healthcare have revolutionized the way cardiologists view the heart and treat patients with new 4-D cardiovascular ultrasound technology that debuted this past summer. Imagine being able to get a 360-degree view of a patientís heart without having to do open heart surgery.

"We were the first site that GE approached with the engineering team to look at it, to help modify it, and to help co-develop it," says Dr. Bijoy Khandheria, cardiologist at Aurora Health Care whoís also in charge of the echocardiographic laboratory team.

Called cSound, the revolutionary software developed by GE took more than five years to develop and uses algorithms to collect large amounts of ultrasound data. The result is a high-quality image of the heart from all sides. This isnít always possible with other types of cardiac diagnostic tools.

"This new cSound technology has helped significantly reduce the number of inconclusive exams, resulting in more precision heart care," says Al Lojewski, general manager of cardiovascular ultrasound at GE Healthcare.

Aurora St. Lukeís Medical Center in Milwaukee reportedly became the first hospital in the world to implement the new technology last June after months of testing. The diagnostic ability is far more superior with cSound for those suffering from valve problems or heart muscle disease, according to Khandheria. With the new technology, doctors also have the ability to view the heart in real time and in four dimensions, improving all catheter-based procedures.

"For Aurora, this is the state of the art, and we try to provide this imaging technology to every patient that comes into the echo laboratory," says Khandheria.

Aurora currently has 15 of the new diagnostic imaging devices in use throughout its network, and all indications are that the technology will eventually become the global standard when it comes to cardiac care. Since launching cSound, GE has been shipping and selling the technology all over the world.

"We see really good adoption both in the United States and Europe. We were just approved in Japan in September. Some of the countries in Latin America will be approved by the end of this year (2015)," says Lojewski.

The strategic partnership between GE and Aurora to bring new technologies to market, like cSound, has been in place for decades. With more than 100 engineers and doctors at work, this software-based technology is a platform for the future of heart care and will continue to improve year after year. GE believes the biggest advances will come with overall ultrasound image quality as engineers develop new software algorithms.

"I think weíre just at the beginning here," concludes Lojewski.



This story ran in the January 2016 issue of: