US and Canada's Space Agencies Testing Medical Technology In Ninth Undersea Mission BOTHELL, WA and TORONTO - November 28, 2005 ' Sonosite Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, said today that the MicroMaxx system, the company's third generation ultrasound product, will be used to demonstrate that successful emergency treatment of a musculoskeletal injury during simulated space flight conditions can be accomplished with telementoring.
The test will be conducted during an 18-day experiment on the ninth mission of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO 9, under 19 meters of water near Key Largo, Florida, in a habitat called Aquarius, which is analogous to a habitat that would house astronauts on the Earth's moon. Each aquanaut will use the notebook-sized MicroMaxx system to perform a diagnostic ultrasound of an injured knee prosthetic at the direction of radiologists and surgeons at the Center for Minimal Access Surgery at McMaster University in Ontario.
After viewing the images in Ontario, these medical experts will remotely diagnose the injury and direct the aquanauts to deliver the appropriate treatment, either a simulated arthroscopy of the knee or an external fixation for dislocation. "In zero gravity, astronauts can suffer severe joint trauma that would require a fellow crew member to identify and treat the injury," said Julian Dobranowski, M.D., chief of Diagnostic Imaging at St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton.
"They need systems that can perform under extreme conditions and be deployed quickly in a very tight space. We selected MicroMaxx for this experiment because of its small size, its excellent imaging capabilities, ease of use, and ruggedness." The MicroMaxx ultrasound system, which delivers image quality comparable to large, heavy cart-based systems, includes a 13-6 MHz High Frequency Linear Array transducer, designed to provide high resolution of musculoskeletal and other superficial structures. Weighing only 3.5 kg and built to withstand the rigors of mobile use, the MicroMaxx system can run on battery power for up to four hours, boots up in seconds and can be hand-carried, enabling clinicians to immediately deliver patient care whenever and wherever needed.
"On NEEMO 7 in 2004, our hand-carried TITAN system performed excellently when it was used to evaluate the abdomen for gallstones, kidney stones, and blunt trauma to the chest," said Drew D'Aguilar, General Manager of Sonosite Canada. "We are proud and delighted that MicroMaxx has been selected for NEEMO 9, and that Sonosite continues to participate in this program." With "splash-down" on April 3, 2006, NEEMO 9 is a joint project involving the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) at McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario. It aims to demonstrate and evaluate a variety of medical diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to enhance the delivery of state-of-the-art medical care in remote and harsh environments.
Leadership in Hand-Carried Ultrasound
Sonosite began as a division of ATL Ultrasound and was spun off as a public company in 1998 to create hand-carried ultrasound devices. Today the company is one of the fastest growing medical technology companies in the United States with revenues growing 37% in 2004 to approximately $116 million. Sonosite is the leader in hand-carried ultrasound with an installed base of more than 20,000 units and a 60% market share worldwide in the hand-carried ultrasound market.
In a recent independently conducted survey commissioned by Sonosite, customers gave the company's products an overall satisfaction rating of 97% based on image quality, ease of use, durability, reliability and ergonomic transducer design. Since the first product shipment in 1999, Sonosite ultrasound devices are increasingly being used in and for procedures where physicians need inexpensive, non-radiating imaging for diverse applications such as real time assessment in emergency situations, guiding biopsies and nerve blocks as well as for full diagnostic examinations.
Headquartered near Seattle, Washington, Sonosite (www.sonosite.com) is represented by eight subsidiaries and a global distribution network 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 470 people worldwide. Sonosite Canada Inc., based in Markham, Ontario, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonosite, Inc.
About the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery
The Centre for Minimal Access Surgery is a McMaster University Center located at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario. As a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary technological education and research center, it is designed to increase the awareness and understanding of, as well as support the research and development of, the specialized techniques of minimal access surgery. One of the primary goals of CMAS is to facilitate the training of physicians in remote parts of Canada to increase the competence and scope of minimal access surgery in these areas.