NETHERLANDS—Royal Philips, a global pioneer in health technology, has revealed its latest ‘transesophageal echocardiography’ (TEE) ultrasound transducer, the X11-4t Mini 3D TEE.

The new transducer, which is intended to serve more patients with greater overall comfort, has gained FDA 510(k) approval.

Philips’ new X11-4t Mini 3D TEE transducer shifts that balance, providing 3D TEE imaging to previously underserved patients who cannot benefit from other TEE transducers with advanced technology.

This transducer has been engineered to be readily accepted by patients due to its 35% smaller size and pill-shaped form.

Philips’ new X11-4t intends to enhance the patient experience, with 87% of clinical responders indicating that the X11-4t may contribute to increased overall patient comfort.

These patients include paediatric patients weighing as little as 5 kg, adults at risk of complications, and complex cases such as ICU patients whose transducer probe for 3D TEE is too large.

Cardiovascular ultrasound has played an important part in the advancement of early detection of structural heart disease, owing to a piece of technology pioneered by Philips.

TEE assists cardiologists by giving highly detailed views of the heart and its interior components.

In structural heart disease, the clarity and perspective of a 3D TEE image can help save lives since it surpasses 2D alternatives.

TEE is also a valuable tool for minimally invasive heart surgeries and procedures, transforming the treatment of damaged heart valves and congenital heart defects.

With this new launch, Dr. Brian Soriano, Pediatric Cardiologist (Washington, USA), noted that for many of their smallest patients undergoing complex intracardiac procedures like valve repairs, 3D TEE will give them a new and much-needed perioperative tool.

According to him, the X11-4t will help visualize atrioventricular valves en-face which was difficult to achieve with traditional 2D TEE.

He went on to add that the 3D TEE will also be a more effective tool to communicate with the surgeons and will enable them to give good “surgeon views” of intracardiac structures.

On his part, David Handler, VP and General Manager for Global Cardiology Ultrasound at Philips, expressed his concern that there were still some patients who couldn’t benefit from this hugely beneficial approach to image the heart, and as a result, would often require a different, more invasive, treatment approach

He implied that this is why they created a new, even smaller tiny 3D TEE transducer that can assist physicians serve a broader spectrum of patients, from little children to fragile adults.

He believes that this breakthrough can help minimize the need for general anesthesia and lower the risk of problems, allowing patients to recover faster from surgeries and be home sooner.

Dr. Rebecca Hahn, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (New York, USA), stated that the X11-4t transducer has the potential to reduce the complications associated with prolonged transesophageal imaging, which can occur during our most difficult structural heart procedures.

This is because the transducer’s small size may also be better tolerated by patients during shorter operations conducted under conscious sedation, therefore providing additional high-quality imaging to improve operative results without the need for general anesthesia.

Clinical staff can also benefit from a Mini Live 3D TEE solution that allows them to care for a wider range of patients using the same hand control, procedure navigation techniques, and workflow they are familiar with on Philips’ EPIQ cardiac ultrasound systems.

As a result, echocardiographers require minimal additional training on this newest transducer.The new transducer is compatible with Philips’ premium cardiology ultrasound portfolio, including the EPIQ CVx and EchoNavigator image-guided therapy solutions.

This enables doctors to provide tailored, efficient, and clinically savvy cardiac treatment, thereby improving results and patient experience.

It also joins a portfolio that includes another notable invention, VeriSight Pro, the first 3D intracardiac echocardiography catheter to miniaturize the same 3D imaging technology that enables TEE.

Every echocardiography exam includes more than 100 heart measures, which account for 50% of the total examination duration.

The new X11-4t Mini 3D transducer underlines Philips’ commitment to providing industry-first technologies to enhance productivity and clinical decision support, including AI-enabled technology and automated tools like the Dynamic Heart Model for procedural guidance.

Philips’ AI-enabled cardiac ultrasound builds on DiA Imaging Analysis’s industry-leading AI technology.

The Philips X11-4t ultrasound transducer is set to be commercially available in 2024 and is now awaiting CE approval in Europe.