Special report: C-Arm technology is in a foot race

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专题报告: C胳膊技术在竞走

Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | April 04, 2011
Courtesy of Philips Healthcare
From the April 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A surgeon in a brand new, $3-million hybrid operating room can be likened to a kid in a toy store. And Dr. Joseph Lombardi, chief of vascular and endovascular surgery with Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., is no exception.

The hospital’s 1,300 square foot hybrid OR brings the imaging capabilities found in some of the best radiology departments right into the surgeon’s domain. Siemens Healthcare’s Axiom Artis takes care of the imaging needs in Lombardi’s OR, an impressive digital system with a flat panel detector that sweeps around the patient. (“C-Arm is kind of an old term,” Lombardi says.)

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The system enables surgeons to get detailed imaging during catheter-based procedures and is vital for aneurism repairs and detections, he explains. “It’s a diagnostic tool, as well as a tool we use for treatment. It saves a lot of time and ultimately, reflects on expeditious patient care,” says Lombardi.

Since their introduction to fixed C-Arms, flat panel detectors have helped surgeons perform more minimally invasive procedures, thus reducing the length of hospital stays and infection rates. The sophistication of the current offerings not only contributes to improved patient outcomes, but also makes it easy for clinicians to embrace the technology. “It’s like driving a Ferrari,” Lombardi says of Axiom Artis. “It’s hard to argue with.”

Some manufacturers are hoping it will be hard to argue with the success of flat-panel detectors in the C-Arm market, as companies big and small are making the case for FD-based systems.

But does the latest technology pose a threat to the incumbent image intensifier-based mobile C-Arm? In today’s market, it depends on who you ask.

Move over II, FD’s here
The OEMs that currently offer flat detectors on mobile C-Arm systems say health care providers are ready to make the change from II-based units. Ziehm Imaging, the company that pioneered the concept of mobile flat-panel technology five years ago, says its customers are investing in C-Arms with the latest advancement.

In 2010, Ziehm sold 900 C-Arms in 70 countries, and more than one-third of the units were FD systems. The company recently launched the “Hybrid Edition” of its Ziehm Vision RFD system, which aims to rival fixed-room installations in its capabilities. As mobile C-Arms tend to overheat during long, complex procedures, Ziehm outfitted this system with a 20kW generator.

The mobile FD C-Arms will result in “cost savings compared to fixed-room installations,” Martin Herzmann, Ziehm’s director of global marketing, said in an e-mail to DOTmed News.

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