SuperSonic Imagine, a company based in Aix-en-Provence, France, that specializes in ultrasound medical imaging, has announced the installation of its Aixplorer ultrasound system at the Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital in Rome, Italy. According to SuperSonic, the Aixplorer will be used in the hospital’s Internal Medicine & Gastroenterology department, primarily for the assessment of chronic liver disease.

The Aixplorer ultrasound imaging system is designed to provide real-time data on tissue morphology and elasticity (stiffness) to allow physicians greater accuracy of diagnosis. The system’s built-in UltraFast software platform can acquire images 200 times faster than conventional ultrasound, according to the company, and enables the ShearWave Elastography (SWE) technology to quantify tissue stiffness in real time.

The company describes SWE as an easy-to-use, noninvasive exam that provides real time, color-coded maps with quantitative measurements of liver stiffness to help assess chronic liver disease. Liver stiffness typically increases with the severity of liver fibrosis, making it an important parameter to help physicians determine disease stage. Liver biopsy has traditionally been considered the gold standard for staging liver fibrosis, but this invasive method has drawbacks, including incidence of morbidity, procedure and hospitalization costs, among other clinical challenges.

SuperSonic reports that the accuracy of SWE, combined with its procedural convenience, has the potential to reduce the number of liver biopsies used for the staging of fibrosis and assessment of cirrhosis. This could potentially save time and hospital costs, reduce morbidity, and improve patients’ quality of life. The technique may also play a role in monitoring antiviral therapies used to address conditions such as hepatitis C.

The Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital serves as the teaching hospital for the medical school of the Universita’ Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, the largest private university in Europe with over 41,000 students across 12 schools. The installation was made possible through the SuperSonic’s ongoing partnership with United Technologies Italy, one of SuperSonic Imagine’s Italian distributors.

For more information about the Aixplorer ultrasound system, visit the SuperSonic Imagine website.