15-Minute Hand-Carried Ultrasound Exam Helps Identify Patients At-Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

SonoSite Introduces Technology for Early Risk Assessment of Cardiovascular DiseaseSoftware Detects Thickened Arterial Walls and Enables Doctors to Treat Patients at the Point of Care With More ConfidenceNEW ORLEANS, November 9, 2004 - SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq: SONO), the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, today introduced SonoCalc IMT software, which allows physicians to effectively measure the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries and assess a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease early. The company made the announcement at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2004 in New Orleans, at which there are a number of clinical presentations addressing the benefits of IMT measurement for cardiovascular disease.Twenty years of clinical research has shown that the arterial wall lining or IMT of the carotid arteries becomes thickened years before plaque develops within the vessel. This increased wall thickness is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of mortality and disability in the United States today."What I have found is that patients with intermediate or limited risk factors, such as moderately elevated cholesterol, who would normally go untreated, may truly be at high risk for a cardiovascular event," said Regina Drueding, M.D., internal medicine physician in Bountiful, Utah and a user of the software. "An IMT scan, using ultrasound at the point of care, provides us the right information to help prevent and better manage the disease. Currently, the most effective way of measuring a patient's IMT is with ultrasound to easily and non-invasively capture images of the carotid artery wall for analysis."Used in conjunction with the TITAN system - SonoSite's high-resolution, hand-carried ultrasound - the SonoCalc patented, automated edge-detection technology provides physicians the ability to analyze the IMT of the patient's carotid artery and compare it against published population data to generate an individual cardiovascular health profile report for the patient. Equally as important, it enables doctors to visualize disease progression to the patient by showing the patient the IMT scan. SonoSite will be offering IMT screenings in booth 2452 during the AHA Scientific Sessions from November 7-10.According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting an estimated 64 million people. Until recently, measuring cholesterol levels or looking for the presence of C-Reactive proteins (acute phase proteins whose levels increase when there's inflammation of blood vessels) have been among the few options in evaluating the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, recent studies have shown a correlation of 95 percent between the disease present in the carotid arteries and the disease present in the coronary arteries. This makes IMT an important tool for diagnosing patients at risk for cardiovascular disease."By expanding our hand-carried ultrasound technology into preventive cardiology we believe that we offer physicians a cost-effective and significant tool to help reduce the intractable increase in cardiovascular disease," said Kevin Goodwin, president and CEO of SonoSite. "Our technology is already positively impacting patient care and outcomes in many diagnostic areas. With the introduction of SonoCalc software we're enabling physicians to make an IMT exam a part of the physical exam and providing the opportunity to impact the early stages of cardiovascular disease when treatment is most effective." SonoCalc's features include:

  • Fully automated, single click IMT measurement
  • Semi-automated, user-guided IMT measurement for difficult images
  • Statistical analysis of multiple IMT measurements
  • IMT measurements stored with corresponding patient information
  • Professional report generation summarizing one or more IMT measurements for a particular patient

About SonoSiteSonoSite, Inc. (www.sonosite.com) is the innovator and world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, with an installed base of more than 20,000 systems. The Company, headquartered near Seattle, Washington is represented by eight subsidiaries and a global distribution netwok in over 75 countries. SonoSite's small, lightweight systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high performance ultrasound to the point of patient care. The Company employs approximately 450 people worldwide.