As part of a $2.72 million National Institutes of Health grant, the Fetal Cardiovascular Center at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) Maternal-Fetal Medicine is using Toshiba America Medical Systems’ Aplio 500 Platinum ultrasound systems to study placental function. Key areas of research include the microvascularization of the placenta, placental tissue elasticity, and placental calcification content.

“Through our research study, we hope to develop an algorithm that can potentially help predict late pregnancy complications in early gestation by using new, high-tech ultrasound software, provided by Toshiba,” says Alfred Abuhamad, MD, study author and professor and chairman for EVMS Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Our study is designed to identify which ultrasound tools are best at determining women who will develop poor pregnancy outcomes and those who will not. If we have the ability to identify which pregnancies will have complications in the future through ultrasound, then we can address it early with interventions and therapies.”

EVMS is leveraging the Aplio 500 Platinum system’s Superb Micro-Vascular Imaging, which allows clinicians to see small vessels and visualize low-velocity microvascular blood flow without the use of contrast agents. Toshiba’s Shear Wave Elastography, which allows clinicians to noninvasively measure tissue stiffness, as well as the company’s MicroPure technology—which enables greater visualization of microcalcifications than gray-scale imaging—is further helping EVMS researchers.

“This initiative will allow researchers to apply Toshiba’s innovative ultrasound technology on the placenta during early pregnancy to investigate new methods to predict and safely minimize future difficulties,” says Eugene Mensah, PhD, MBA, Toshiba’s director of clinical collaborations. “This is a very prestigious award and we are excited to support research to improve pregnancy outcomes for the mother and child.”

For more information about the system, visit Toshiba America Medical Systems.