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1979: Heart checkups based on ultrasound

In 1979, the Vingmed electronics company in Horten in Southern Norway launched a unique ultrasonic device for the diagnosis of cardiac disease.

They laid the foundations: interdisciplinary research cooperation, led by heart specialist Liv Hatle and cybernetics specialist Bjørn Angelsen, was behind an industrial success story in medical technology. Photo: SINTEF/Jens Søraa

The new product emerged from research performed by the cybernetics group at NTH/SINTEF. 

It was based an ultrasonic instrument that measured blood flow in the heart, the first of its type intended for clinical use, and it signalled the birth of a completely new type of “bloodless” cardiac examination. The measurements provided vital information about faulty valves in the heart.

The clinical advantages of the system were documented in the course of ground-breaking medical studies carried out in Trondheim Regional Hospital.

Continued collaboration

Vingmed had a breakthrough in 1987, with an ultrasonic device in which the technology for measuring blood-flow was integrated into image-based equipment for cardiac diagnostics. The instrument provided information about the functioning of the heart muscle and valves.

The company also developed this device, and a number of subsequent products, in the course of close collaboration with SINTEF/NTNU.

World leader in its field

In 2011, GE Vingmed Ultrasound AS had 170 employees in Norway. The company is owned by General Electric and is the world leader in its field.

Within GE, Vingmed enjoys the status of “Center of Excellence” in the development, design and manufacture of ultrasonic instruments.

Although the company’s speciality is cardiac diagnostics, it also develops technology that is incorporated in ultrasonic equipment for other areas of medicine. GE Vingmed’s products range from highly advanced high-end ultrasonic instruments to simple portable equipment, in the form of the Vscan device.