Two months after it announced a development agreement with an ultrasound technology company, St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) has launched a faster, more portable intracardiac ultrasound system designed for taking images inside the heart.
The company’s new ViewMate Z combines its intracardiac echocardiography catheter with Mountain View, Calif.-based Zonare Medical Systems Inc.’s "z.one" convertible ultrasound system.
In 2009, The St. Paul, Minn.-based St. Jude’s atrial fibrillation division revenue, which includes such cardiac imaging technologies, was $628 million, up 17 percent from 2008, according to its 2009 annual report. A spokesperson declined to answer what impact the ViewMate Z is expected to have on St. Jude’s revenues.
The worldwide medical ultrasound equipment market is expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2012, according to market research firm Marketstrat, and Zonare has become a significant player in a relatively short time. Zonare has sold more than 4,000 z.one systems worldwide since introducing it in 2005. It was ranked first in market share over Philips Healthcare (NYSE:PHG) and GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE) for the peripheral vascular ultrasound market in 2008.
The ultrasound images captured by the ViewMate Z device will help guide physicians in performing a variety of procedures such as radiofrequency ablation to treat irregular heart rhythms and in closing defects such as patent foramen ovale, a small hole or opening in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. Clear views inside the heart also help reduce the time that it takes physicians to perform such procedures, the company said.