SonoSite launches new hand-held ultrasound system
SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO, the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound,
has announced the launch of its MicroMaxx(TM) ultrasound system, the
company's third generation hand-carried product. The MicroMaxx system, at
less than eight pounds and the size of a laptop computer, delivers image
resolution and performance comparable to costly, conventional cart-based
ultrasound systems weighing over 200 pounds. This unprecedented power in a
hand-carried configuration provides caregivers with unmatched flexibility
and efficiency in utilizing ultrasound in both hospital and office-based
"The MicroMaxx represents the technology crossover point between
hand-carried and cart-based systems," said Kevin M. Goodwin, President and
CEO of SonoSite. "With this new combination of performance and portability,
the MicroMaxx system addresses traditional ultrasound markets such as
radiology and cardiology, while further expanding ultrasound's utility in
areas such as emergency medicine, anesthesiology and surgery. Use of the
MicroMaxx system promises to benefit patients by delivering high performance
ultrasound at less cost meaning more accurate diagnoses and the initiation
of treatment more quickly."
As the market leader in hand-carried ultrasound, SonoSite has developed
user-friendly, technologically advanced products designed from the
ground-up, not adapted from existing technologies. The Company's proprietary
Chip Fusion(TM) technology integrates digital signal processing and multiple
ultrasound functions into a custom ASIC (Application Specific Integrated
Circuit) microchip, resulting in high performance in a less costly, powerful
The MicroMaxx system and its transducers are designed to withstand
real-world use, including being dropped onto a hard surface and continuing
to function. SonoSite's proven history of durability and reliability, and
the high level of integration of its third generation ASICs has resulted in
another industry first — a standard five-year warranty.
"The MicroMaxx hand-carried ultrasound system is a major step forward in
patient care," said Catherine M. Otto, MD, Professor of Medicine and
Director, Cardiology Fellowship Programs, University of Washington School of
Medicine in Seattle. "The image resolution and color Doppler are superb and
something I did not expect to find in a hand-carried unit. The MicroMaxx is
easy to use with simple, clear controls. Getting comfortable with this
sophisticated instrument took me less than 10 minutes. Hand-carried
echocardiography has become central in my clinical practice for making and
confirming diagnostic decisions."
In addition to traditional market segments for ultrasound such as
radiology, cardiology and vascular imaging, high performance hand-carried
products like MicroMaxx and SonoSite's earlier generation product, the
TITAN(TM) system, are increasing the use of ultrasound in newer
applications, including emergency medicine, anesthesiology, general and
A major technology advance
Through its proprietary Chip Fusion(TM) technology, SonoSite has achieved
the integration of multiple, complex ultrasound functions onto a single
ASIC, thereby dramatically reducing space, weight and power requirements
while offering high resolution imaging. In the MicroMaxx system, a
128-channel beamformer, the complex front end of an ultrasound system, is
integrated into four proprietary postage stamp-sized ASIC chips, something
typically requiring several circuit boards in the larger systems.
Additionally, the MicroMaxx system is ready for scanning in seconds and can
operate on battery power for up to four hours.
"This is a major development for the field of medical imaging," said
Jacques Souquet, Ph.D., a member of SonoSite's Board of Directors and an
early visionary in hand-carried ultrasound. "I have always believed that
once the quality of hand-carried ultrasound imaging was equivalent to the
images in cart-based systems, it could radically change how hospitals and
physicians manage, utilize and expand ultrasound imaging. I believe that
MicroMaxx opens a new era in ultrasound."
The new broadband digital beamformer supports extended bandwidth
transducers for scanning in a wide range of clinical applications. New
transducers being introduced with the MicroMaxx system include:
- the HFL 38 /13-6 transducer for breast, small parts, vascular, IMT and
- the P17/5-1 transducer for abdominal, cardiac and obstetrical
- the C60e/5-2 transducer for abdominal, obstetrical and gynecological
- the TEE/8-3 transducer for transesophageal echocardiography scanning.
The MicroMaxx system also offers the option of embedded SonoCalc(TM) IMT
software for the early detection and management of cardiovascular disease.
IMT, or Intima Media Thickness, refers to the measurement of the interior
lining of the common carotid artery. This effective measurement can detect
sub-clinical atherosclerosis (very early stages of disease), long before any
significant atherosclerotic plaque accumulates.