Siemens Acuson Juniper
Veterinary ultrasound review
The Juniper ultrasound machine from Siemens can be equipped with any software package and probe configuration you can think of, but for the purpose of this review, we test-drove this machine for small animal echocardiography. There are three transducers that are suitable; as we happened to only have small-medium sized canines in the clinic that day, we used the 8V4 each time.
The major drawback of the Juniper is immediately obvious: its size. The vast majority of our clients prefer portable ultrasound machines over cart-based systems (hence our website name!), but it seems that if you’re looking for a high end ultrasound system that can do everything, a cart-based machine will give you much more for your money. Incidentally, if you are only looking for a cardiac machine, the far more portable P500 will deliver comparable performance for echocardiography. It cannot yet be equipped with a microconvex probe, however – so if that’s a must for you, and you like this level of image quality for well under £30k, you’ll need to make space for the Juniper (still, against traditional cart-based systems, the Juniper is considered slim and lightweight).
High resolution imaging
If you’ve been performing cardiac scans on a mid-range scanner, you will know that clearly visualising all three leaflets of the aortic valve in cats and dogs is frequently not possible. On a normal valve, they’re simply too thin. With the Juniper, we were able to obtain textbook-quality images of the aortic valve in its short axis, very easily – beautifully displayed on the machine’s 21.5″ LED monitor.
Automated Doppler measurements
The Juniper automates E and A measurement point placement, left ventricular outflow tract and aortic velocities, and so on. However, like all commercial systems, it relies on the presence of an ECG trace. A good ECG trace is not always obtainable in fractious patients.
Dicom as standard
As you would expect from a premium manufacturer like Siemens, images and video clips are saved in Dicom format as standard (you can also export them in jpg and avi format if you prefer). This never used to be important to me until my echocardiography clinic started getting busy, and I end the day with several reports to write. It makes such a difference being able to perform all my measurements here on my laptop, and not have to keep running back over to the ultrasound machine to take more measurements. It took me ages to find the right dicom software to be able to use for my offline reporting, so if you’ve also been looking, please feel free to get in touch and I can tell you how I am doing it!
Ultrasound machines, whether portable or cart-based, are notoriously noisy. High-performance machines, in particular, tend to have very powerful (and loud) cooling fans. The Apogee 1000 Lite is one such example, and can sound a little bit like a plane taking off when booting up! The Acuson Juniper, however, is advertised by Siemens as being 40% quieter than the average ultrasound system. By “average,” Siemens presumably mean other machines within a similar price and application bracket. When compared with your average veterinary ultrasound machine, the Juniper is noticeably quieter, and 40% may even be an underestimation.