The World’s First Hand-carried Echocardiography System is Unveiled

BOTHELL, WA, March 18, 2002 - SonoSite, Inc. (Nasdaq: SONO) today unveiled the SonoHeart ELITE system, the first and only all-digital hand-carried ultrasound system (HCU) with complete echocardiography capabilities, at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 51st Annual Scientific Session in Atlanta, Georgia. The new system weighs less than six pounds and allows trained cardiologists or sonographers to perform complete echocardiography examinations, in virtually any setting. First announced on February 4, 2002, this is the public debut of the product to the international cardiovascular market. The Company expects to begin shipments in the next few weeks.

The new SonoHeart ELITE system delivers quantitative measurement capabilities and image quality never before available in a hand-carried ultrasound system. Continuous wave Doppler and Extended Resolution Harmonics have been incorporated into SonoSite's proprietary imaging platform, enabling the hand-carried device to perform complete cardiology examinations. Live demonstrations of the SonoHeart ELITE system will be given at the Company's booth (# 4943) at the ACC meeting.

"I've used SonoSite systems in my practice because the ease-of-use and portability enable me to provide my patients with better care," said Michael A. LaCorte, M.D., chairman, Department of Pediatrics, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, New York. "In the past, I frequently used the systems to perform quick look exams on patients; however, with the added features of the new system, I'm using it to perform complete echocardiography exams on my patients. I really appreciate the convenience of being able to conduct these exams right in my office - there's usually no need for follow-up appointments or having to transport a patient to an exam room."

"We continue to receive very positive feedback from early users, and are pleased to showcase our newest SonoSite system to a wider audience at the American College of Cardiology meeting," said Kevin M. Goodwin, president and CEO, SonoSite, Inc. "Since pioneering the first hand-carried ultrasound system less than three years ago, we have introduced nine product improvements into the marketplace. As we move forward, we want to continue building upon this track record and keep exceeding our customers' expectations."

Added Capabilities - Same Inherent Simplicity
The new full-featured SonoHeart ELITE system retains the low-weight (less than six pounds), inherent simplicity and ease-of-use of all the SonoSite systems, but adds new features including:

  • Continuous wave (CW) Doppler provides sensitive and accurate assessment of blood flow moving at high speeds in the heart, with a simple, intuitive user interface. The sensitivity and clear signal quality is comparable to CW found on much larger, more expensive ultrasound systems. CW Doppler is an important addition that provides quantitative assessment of blood flow moving at speeds higher than pulsed wave Doppler is capable of assessing.
  • Extended Resolution Harmonics (ERH) provides enhanced two-dimensional (2D) image quality. It is an advanced feature that creates clarity without sacrificing penetration or fine anatomic detail.
  • Improved image quality and color power Doppler sensitivity are a result of improved transducer and signal processing technology.

Physicians and sonographers who own previous generation SonoHeart products should contact their local SonoSite representatives for information on upgrading to the new full-featured SonoHeart ELITE system.

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.