New GE imaging tech highlights our blood vessels in brilliant color

Summary:FlightPlan identifies the blood vessels that feed tumors in the liver, and AngioViz shows changes in blood flow before and after treatments.

Earlier this month, GE Healthcare announced two new technologies that detail blood vessels for image-guided interventions.

FlightPlan identifies the blood vessels that feed tumors in the liver, and AngioViz shows changes in blood flow before and after treatments.

These two ‘vascular visualization’ software promise to give more detailed information to interventional radiologists – who diagnose or treat by looking at x-rays and other minimally invasive images.

1. FlightPlan for Liver automatically identifies vessels near a tumor to help doctors plan liver embolizations – procedures to deliberately obstruct the arteries that feed the tumor.

There are more than 749,000 new liver cancers every year around the world. In ‘chemoembolization,’ a high dose of cancer-killing drugs is delivered directly to the organ while choking off the tumor’s blood supply.

Approximately half of all interventional oncology procedures in the liver are like this – all requiring catheters to navigate through a complex tree of vessels.

FlightPlan constructs a 3D image of the liver arterial tree, and then it displays the blood vessels in the tumor’s vicinity with color coding (top picture).

In that way, it becomes a ‘feeding vessels’ 3D roadmap to visualize liver circulation in real-time and help plan embolizations.

According to GE, FlightPlan’s success rate in detecting tumor-feeding vessels is 93%, compared to 64% when using 2D.

2. AngioViz enhances a decades old technique that visualizes the anatomy of blood vessels, called Digital Subtraction Angiography.

DSA is based on contrast; it removes the under and overlying body structures by digitally subtracting an image taken beforehand. Used with an x-ray, it provides a static image of vascular anatomy.

But doctors also want to observe patterns or changes in blood flow.

To capture flow dynamics, AngioViz determines, for each pixel, the peak value of opacification (or when the x-ray becomes opaque due to the contrast described above).

It also determines the time it takes to reach peak opacification. These two measurements can be displayed separately or combined in a color-coded image (bottom picture).

FlightPlan and AngioViz are commercially released in Europe, but haven’t obtained FDA clearance. The new techs were announced at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna.

Images: GE Healthcare

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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