Hang this around your neck


Stethoscopes are awesome – particularly so because they bring an art to medicine, because the clinical experience of the ears (and what’s between the ears) of the wearer make a massive difference to the interpretation of what is going on. Then echo came along and people started to rely more and more on an ‘objective’ result – so now, it’s time to bring the ultrasound to the bedside. 

I’ve always been a massive fan of ultrasound, as a non invasive technique that can give a massive amount of information, with no harmful effects to the patient. Similar to the stethoscope, the skill of the user determines the amount of information gained. Furthermore, the same machine can do so much – insert lines, look at the heart, liver, abdominal viscera, arteries, veins – the list goes on and on. 

Now that ultrasound machines are getting smaller, they’re becoming more popular. Screens are being carried around with us all the time – check out the iPad – and certainly if one could hang a  probe around your neck and hook it up to your tablet…well I’m getting carried away. 

For all the good, there’s got to be a bad. For one, mobile ultrasound, at least in the form of echo, is still in it’s infancy and the technology has a way to go. The Archives of Internal Medicine had a look at the accuracy of it, and found that for ejection fraction at least, it’s fairly reasonable. 

I’ve got no doubt that in 10 years (and probably less), we’re going to be teaching ultrasound techniques to medical students as a new bedside clinical skill – we just need the technology to be more accessible. 

Check out the article here. The GE machine and Siemens machines are here and here, respectively. 



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