New iLook 3-lb Ultrasound Platform Accelerates Application of Visual Medicine

SonoSite, hand-carried ultrasound pioneer, debuts two PDA-like iLook tools -- nearly palm-sized all-digital tools deliver "quick look" in clinical diagnostics, plus vascular access guidance
BOTHELL, WA, August 19, 2002 - Unveiling the smallest all-digital ultrasound platform available in the world-- the three-pound iLook series-- hand-carried ultrasound pioneer SonoSite, Inc., has enabled acceleration in the routine application of visual medicine. Just larger than a PDA, iLook was developed to enable greater access to visualization technology across an array of medical specialties - ultimately putting a new high-powered tool in the hands of healthcare providers that can facilitate improvements in quality of care while reducing healthcare costs.

iLook is designed to further increase the utility of hand-carried ultrasound in patient care. Hand-carried ultrasound is gaining acceptance because it enables a trained physician immediately to obtain information that can help diagnose a patient's condition or guide a delicate procedure such as a biopsy or a vascular line placement -- but without increasing the complexity of the procedure itself or the costs to the hospital system.

SonoSite received 510k approval for marketing the iLook platform from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 31, 2002, and today begins the U.S. phase of its global launch. Initially, SonoSite will offer two iLook systems for multiple applications throughout a hospital. iLook 15 is intended for "quick look" diagnostics in areas such as emergency, radiology, intensive care, or surgical recovery.

iLook 25 is designed to provide superior visual imaging for physicians and nurses while performing vascular access procedures. "Our technology is driving a movement toward visual medicine that directly supports the top priorities in health care today -- to reduce costs, increase access, increase safety, and improve the quality of care," said Kevin M. Goodwin president and CEO of SonoSite.

"iLook represents the newest member of the SonoSite family of systems, and represents our unique ability to place the power to see inside the body directly into the hands of trained physicians" enabling them to make more informed decisions in any healthcare delivery setting." "I see great possibilities for this new device," said Peter L. Cooperberg, M.D., FRCP (C), Professor of Radiology, University of British Columbia, Chief of Radiology, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia.

"The iLook is an incredible supplemental tool. It frees up our larger machines for more complex studies and procedures while giving physicians who depend on clear ultrasound imagery the information they need. I can literally see dozens of places in a hospital where this type of device could be used," said Dr. Cooperberg. "I have used SonoSite's hand-carried ultrasound devices for several years as an effective and cost efficient way to improve how we care for our patients. Using visual technology in a clinical setting improves our ability to find and treat medical conditions early, we can make the diagnostic and treatment processes more convenient and more comfortable for patients."

New Platform - Two New Hand-Carried Devices Support Patient Care and Cost Reduction
iLook 15 and iLook 25 can be used alone, or as a supplement to either SonoSite's full function, hand-carried and light-weight tools - the SonoSite 180PLUS for general imaging and the SonoHeart ELITE for echocardiography, or a large, traditional cart-based ultrasound system. Featuring a single fixed transducer (the part of the system that touches the patient's body), iLook is all-digital, battery powered or active current. The systems have a PDA-like touch screen as the user interface and will be priced between $12,500 and $15,500.

Take a Quick Look Inside: diagnostic power enabled by hand-carried ultrasound
iLook 15 enables visual medicine by allowing trained physicians to take a quick look inside a patient to see what they otherwise could only attempt to ascertain through auscultation (listening with the stethoscope), or by touch. The device is equipped to perform initial diagnoses for gallstones, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and pericardial or pleural effusions (build up of fluid on the chest or heart).

The device is intended as a supplemental tool for hospital departments such as radiology, emergency medicine, cardiology, and surgery, prior to ordering a costly test or performing a more advanced procedure. For departments like intensive or critical care, the device can be used to monitor the recovery of patients, especially in instances where fluid build-up in the chest or around the heart could slow recovery. iLook 15 will be available in the U.S. beginning on August 19 and in Europe in September 2002. Availability in Asia, Canada, and the rest of the world will follow local regulatory approvals, expected later this year and in early 2003.

Inside View for Vascular Access: emerging market for hand-carried ultrasound
Facilitation of safer vascular access is a growing movement in ultrasound, and SonoSite is the first company to design an all-digital, high image quality product specifically for this application. iLook 25, named for its 25mm probe, is designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of routine vascular access procedures, such as catheter insertions or placing central or peripheral lines in veins. While the use of central venous catheters (CVCs) can be life saving, such as for monitoring cardiopulmonary arrest or providing long-term intravenous access for medications or dialysis, they are also associated with significant risks.

As one of its top 11 improvements for patient safety in the hospital, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recommended the use of real-time ultrasound guidance during central line insertion to prevent complications. This can result in up to a 40% reduction in the number of insertion attempts (i.e., number of times a physician or technician attempts to insert a needle or "line" into a patient), as well as a relative risk reduction of 78% in complications associated with insertions.

1 This safety increase could mean that patients spend one less night in a hospital since they would not, for example, need to monitor a large hematoma (a swelling or mass of blood, caused by a break in a blood vessel) created by a central line failure. Additionally, a profile of several hospitals around the country revealed that enabling a catheter insertion to be made at a patient's bedside can save a hospital at least $1,000 or more per patient, compared to having the insertion made in the radiology department. iLook 25 will be available in the U.S. and Europe in September 2002 and in Asia, Canada and the rest of the world upon regulatory approvals in individual countries anticipated for later this year and early-2003.

"iLook is a tool to further extend access to visual information whenever and wherever a physician may need it. Over the past three years, we have put nearly 8,000 systems into the hands of healthcare professionals around the world. Many of our customers report that this has transformed how they make patient care decisions, and we anticipate that they will leverage the potential of these new tools to further increase their capabilities," Goodwin said.

About SonoSite
SonoSite, 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.