Cardiovascular diseases are the most prevalent cause of death in industrial nations. To recognize them on time and to treat them effectively is a challenge for both phy-sicians and healthcare providers around the globe. Siemens Medical Solutions helps its customers to successfully master this problem by offering innovative solu-tions in cardiology. Modern diagnostic systems combined with optimal IT-supported workflows ensure a higher quality of healthcare and solutions by Siemens that lead to improved patient care during prevention, therapy and maintenance and, as a re-sult, to greater satisfaction for physicians, personnel, and patients.
Especially in industrial nations, cardiology counts as it always has to the growth areas in the healthcare sector. And not for naught: the death toll of heart-related diseases reaches approximately four million people per year - this corresponds to nearly half of all deaths in Europe. And heart disease does not know boundaries. According to the World Health Or-ganization (WHO), anybody can fall victim to it, independent of geographical location, gen-der, or socio-economic status.
Especially coronary heart disease can occur overnight as an acute heart infarct that leads to "sudden death" due to rhythmic cardiac interferences. “Half of all heart infarcts happen without prior warning”, so Associate Professor Dr. Stephan Achenbach, chief physician at the Medical Clinic II – cardiology and angiology – at the University Clinic in Erlangen, Germany. “And again in close to half of these cases, the infarct is deadly.” A matter of minutes counts in the detection and treatment of diseases such as heart infarcts. Delays may result in a heavily damaged heart muscle and possible death. But the diagnosis of an acute heart disease is not always unambiguous. Lung embolisms or lacerations of the aorta can lead to similar effects. For this reason, several examinations are required for patients suffering from ambiguous chest pain and, if required, lab examinations have to be controlled repeatedly in the course of several hours to ensure safe diagnosis. This year, Siemens is demonstrating its emergency diagnostics in cardiology at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to show how workflows can be simplified and ac-celerated through cooperation across modalities.
“Optimally coordinated processes - from patient registration to discharge - can save lives”, explained Professor Erich R. Reinhardt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Medical Solutions. “Integrated solutions for cardiology combine diagnostic and therapeutic methods with performance-oriented IT systems and lead to visible results. And not just in the clinical, but also in the operational and financial arena.”
Siemens Medical Solutions presented the following products and solutions at the ESC 2005:
· Siemens presented with the Axiom Artis dBC Magnetic Navigation the worldwide first biplane cardiology system with digital flat detector (FD) technology for magnetic navigation of catheters and guidewires. For the first time, the system combines in both planes the advantages of magnetically-assisted intervention using the proven technology of flat detectors. On one hand, interventions are performed more quickly with this system, on the other, the catheter reaches anatomical re-gions that would be difficult to access without magnetic steering. Additional advan-tages are the excellent image quality provided by the flat detectors and the highly flexible design of the system. If the magnets are not required for an intervention, they are swiveled to the side.
· The innovative Siemens software Interventional Cardiac 3D (IC3D) technology creates three dimensional (3D) angiography images of the coronary vessels in the heart and allows exact stent planning. The introduction of IC3D technology will pro-vide clinicians with an extremely helpful and important tool in the evaluation of pa-tients prior to stenosis. With this technology, Siemens is leading the way to better patient care overall, making procedures effective, while enhancing workflow and cost efficiencies for the hospital.
· Siemens introduced the innovative software syngo Circulation, setting a new benchmark in cardiac evaluation software for computed tomography (CT). Syngo Circulation is a dedicated solution for cardiac evaluation, designed to offer fast, ro-bust morphological and functional analysis and reporting in one intuitive software application. It is the first of Siemens’ new generation clinical workflow solutions.
· At the ESC Siemens showed how to simplify and accelerate the workflow of cardi-ological emergency diagnostics through cross-modality cooperation. In this case, the Somatom Sensation Cardiac 64 computed tomography system (CT), Axiom Ar-tis dBC digital radiography system, and the Axiom Sensis recording system are used. In patients with equivocal diagnosis, the CT system provides crystal-clear im-ages of the heart within seconds, enabling safe and sure diagnosis i.e. of pulmo-nary embolism, dissecation, vascular occlusion, or other coronary diseases. A catheter is subsequently applied only if vascular dilation or the use of a stent is re-quired in case of coronary diseases. This intervention is performed using the Axiom radiography system which supports the physician through its latest cardiology soft-ware programs such as Interventional Cardiac 3D (IC3D) for stent planning.
· New opportunities and trends in Ultrasound Technology were also highlighted. The worldwide premiere of Velocity Vector Imaging (VVI), and release of the Acu-son Sequoia echocardiography platforms, have been accompanied by the first presentation of the Acuson AcuNav 8F ultrasound catheter at the ESC. These de-velopments are evidence of the commitment of Siemens’ Ultrasound Division to driving innovations to outcomes in user ergonomics, minimal invasive procedures and new fields of echocardiography.
· Siemens announced recently that its c.cam – a unique, reclining dedicated cardiac gamma camera system – will be available for the European market. The rising number of nuclear applications in Europe also requires a gamma camera system specialized for examinations of the heart.
· Last year, Siemens ushered in a new era in Magnetic Resonance Tomography: known as Tim (Total imaging matrix): The company presented a new method that allowed for the very first time whole-body imaging in a single examination with ex-cellent image quality. In the meantime, nearly 600 Tim systems have been installed worldwide and the first clinical experiences confirm the broad performance spec-trum of this technology. Tim technology greatly enhances cardiac examinations. The use of a 32 channel coil and new acquisition methods such as AutoViability and Cine Late Enhancement allow for a display of the infarcted area during heart con-traction, facilitate the examination as such, and improve the diagnosis of cardiovas-cular diseases with MR.
A focal point at the ESC: Women’s heart diseases
This year’s Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in Stockholm was held under the banner "Women at Heart." According to the statements given by the ESC, today more women than men die of heart disease than of tumors and related consequences. It’s less known that woman, especially the younger generations, show atypical symptoms as compared to men suffering from heart disease. According to the WHO, heart diseases are rarely recognized in women, especially younger ones, the world over. Frequently they are referred too late or not at all to a heart specialist for treatment. Physicians and other or-ganizations therefore require that the risk of heart disease becomes part of the routine care for women. Echocardiography is an important diagnostic tool in the early and im-proved detection of risk estimation for women.
Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, manage-ment consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes. From imaging systems for diagnosis, to therapy equipment for treatment, to patient monitors to hearing instruments and beyond, Siemens innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people ac-ross the globe, while improving operational efficiencies and optimizing workflow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors' offices. Employing approximately 31,000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7.07 billion EUR, orders of 8.12 billion EUR and group profit of 1.05 billion EUR for fiscal 2004.
Further information can be found under: www.siemens.com/medical