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A Brief Talk About the Development of Whole-Body Ultrasound Technology and Its Significance


Ultrasound definition

Ultrasound is high-frequency soundwaves used for examinations, which show a picture or image of the inner structures of the body on a screen. A radiologist uses an ultrasound scanner that utilizes a smooth handheld device known as a transducer. It is moved across the body in sliding and rotating action, which transmits the ultrasound waves into the body. These sound waves produce a moving image by converting the sound waves reflected from different tissues, organ structures, or body parts into electrical impulses.


Figure 1. Modern Ultrasound technique
Figure 1. Modern Ultrasound technique

As compared to other diagnostic methods, ultrasound offers numerous advantages. Some of them include:

  • Noninvasive.

  • It does not use any ionizing radiation. Therefore, it is safe.

  • It ensures images with great details and gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not demonstrate clearly on x-ray images.

  • It preferred imaging modality to diagnose and monitor pregnant women and their unborn babies.

  • It provides real-time imaging; thus, it is good for guiding minimally invasive procedures, such as needle biopsies and needle aspiration.


Figure 2. Ultrasound Guided Needle Biopsies
Figure 2. Ultrasound Guided Needle Biopsies

The development of ultrasound included the advancing Doppler paradigm (1966) to enable scanning layers of the heart via blood flow. Doppler ultrasound is a widely used method to diagnose any condition in modern medical science. It can estimate the blood flow through vessels compared to the traditional ultrasound method, which cannot show blood flow. This requires us to understand what a Doppler ultrasound is and why Viatom provides a handheld ultrasound scanner with this technology.


What is a Doppler ultrasound?


Figure 3. Doppler ultrasound adult patient case
Figure 3. Doppler ultrasound adult patient case

Doppler ultrasound is a modern imaging technique that allows physicians to examine the blood flow through vessels. It works by measuring sound waves that are reflected from moving objects, such as red blood cells. This is known as the Doppler effect.


There are different types of Doppler ultrasound scanners, and each one has unique capabilities. Some of them are:


  1. Color Doppler: It shows the speed and direction of blood flow through a blood artery by transforming Doppler measurements into a spectrum of colors using a computer.

  2. Power Doppler: It is a newer technique more sensitive than color Doppler, which can provide great detail of blood flow, especially when blood flow is minimal. However, it does not help the radiologist determine the direction of blood flow.

  3. Spectral Doppler: It depicts blood flow measurements graphically, rather than as a color picture. It can also translate information about blood flow into a distinct sound that can be heard with each heartbeat.


Figure 4. Doppler Ultrasound exam
Figure 4. Doppler Ultrasound exam

As aforementioned, ultrasound is used more appropriately only to describe the potential of large bedside ultrasound scanners.


Now, imagine if an ultrasound scanner is available as a handheld device and demonstrates all the features of previous generations with advanced capabilities. Portable whole-body ultrasound scanners have been utilized in imaging and diagnosis of various disease conditions, and their applications in point of care are many.


Applications of whole-body ultrasound in point of care

Expediting triage and time to diagnosis is crucial to decreasing morbidity in critically ill patients. Point-of-care testing has been proved to address these problems, which leads to better patient outcomes.


Point-of-care ultrasonography is a technique that is brought to the patient and performed in real-time. Point-of-care ultrasound images are available almost instantly. The clinician can use real-time dynamic images (rather than images recorded by a sonographer and interpreted later), allowing findings to be directly correlated with the patient's presenting signs and symptoms.



There are four main clinical applications for point of care ultrasound:

• Musculoskeletal (MSK);

• Cardiac/critical care;

• Emergency medicine (hospital-based and urgent care);

• Anesthesia and pain management.


In musculoskeletal imaging:


Point of care ultrasound has seen significant growth in musculoskeletal (MSK) applications due to its ability to visualize soft tissue tears in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint spaces at a high resolution that cannot be detected on X-ray.


Viatom dual-head ultrasound device offers flexibility to scan any body part just by flipping the device. The scanner is also used to detect foreign bodies or abnormal growths, such as tumors and calcifications, as well as early bone changes, including subclinical synovitis and early bony erosions.


In cardiology:

Figure 6.  Overview of cardiac ultrasound
Figure 6. Overview of cardiac ultrasound

Cardiac point of care ultrasound applications will also see continued growth, particularly in emergency medicine. With the point of care ultrasound now regularly being utilized by emergency physicians to evaluate patients in cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines in 2015 to recommend its use during the management of cardiac arrest.


Other cardiac-specific uses of point of care ultrasound include triaging chest pain, dyspnea, undifferentiated shock, and abdominal/thoracic trauma. In any of these conditions, the challenge is to identify the underlying cause of pain or disease immediately.


Viatom provides a handheld ultrasound device that can be taken anywhere and used remotely by simply connecting to a smartphone/tablet to deliver a real-time image of the area scanned. This facility can save a patient's life while living far from specialized diagnostic centers.


For Needle Guidance:


Ultrasound-guided interventions improved precision and led to greater treatment efficacy. Needle visualization software help guide injections exactly where they need to be for optimal healing and relief. Ultrasound guidance for lumbar puncture (LP) has become an increasingly useful aid to an otherwise difficult procedure in patients with abnormal landmarks due to obesity, spinal curvature, or other anatomical abnormalities.


Anesthesiologists are increasingly using ultrasound for anatomical evaluation prior to needle insertion. For example, Viatom Doppler ultrasound can scan and produce high-resolution images and provide excellent guidance in difficult venous access to delineate nerve plexus for chronic nerve blocks and for epidural space identification and regional anesthesia.


To Reduce Costs of CT or MRI:


Whole-body Ultrasound in point of care facilities and practices reduces costs, promotes efficiency, and saves time for both the provider and the patient. As an important complement or alternative imaging modality to MRI, ultrasound costs less. It can be performed at the initial visit, fostering continuity of patient care and immediacy in diagnosis.


A diagnostic ultrasound exam costs 60-70 percent less than an MRI and is not contraindicated for use on patients with pacemakers and other metal implants. With a dynamic ultrasound exam, patients become involved in their care and are able to view pre-and post-treatment scans live, side-by-side on the system monitor. MRI or CT scan is recommended when imaging is not clear, and a proper diagnosis could not be made with ultrasound. But with Viatom ultrasound scanners, a clinician can obtain a high-definition image of a body part, thereby minimizing the diagnosis time and money spent.


How Can Whole-Body Ultrasound Help Build Telehealth Medical Diagnostic System?


Telemedicine is the practice of providing healthcare services using information and communications technology, where geographic distance is not as restrictive as in traditional medical practice. It can be a cost-cutting measure because it eliminates both long travel times and unnecessary doctor visits.


Figure 7. Modern Telehealth Medical Diagnostic Scenario
Figure 7. Modern Telehealth Medical Diagnostic Scenario

Despite technological advancements and mobile devices with high bandwidth that allow for a seamless live-image transmission, a lack of access to ultrasound doctors is a concern in both low and high-income countries.


In this regard, a whole-body ultrasound can help build up a robust telehealth diagnostic system in different scenarios:


1. Remote diagnosis


Remote diagnosis requires personnel with certain skills in the patient's location to ascertain clinical information from the patient. Physical reports are then sent to the physician for further analysis. This process takes time and increases the overall cost of treatment.


A telehealth diagnosis system, i.e., whole-body ultrasound, can remotely diagnose a patient at home. Live images can be directly shared with the clinician for proper diagnosis, which can be used by cardiologists, nephrologists, and obstetricians to diagnose patients remotely.


2. Patient monitoring


It is mandatory to monitor critically ill patients regularly. Whether the patient is located remotely or is in ICU, it's not feasible for health practitioners to call the patient in the office for a check-up. Portable whole-body ultrasound scanners help build up a telehealth diagnostic system by providing routine analysis of critically ill patients and delivering the same information to clinicians without calling the patient to the doctor's office.


For example, the wound can be assessed remotely and real-time data transferred to clinicians for proper judgment. In ICU patients, the telehealth diagnostic system connects different specialized physicians to monitor the patient in real-time. Similarly, in patients with hypoxemia lung, ultrasound can rapidly identify the aetiology.


3. Better quality patient care


A telehealth diagnostic system makes it easier for clinicians to follow up with patients and make sure everything is going well. Whether they're using a more extensive remote patient monitoring system to watch the patient's heart or doing a video chat to answer medication questions after a hospital discharge, a telehealth diagnostic system leads to better care outcomes.


Figure 8.  Portable ultrasound proves to be a potent weapon in the fight against COVID-19
Figure 8. Portable ultrasound proves to be a potent weapon in the fight against COVID-19

Whole-body ultrasound systems can provide better care in patients suffering from musculoskeletal disorders and heart and lung diseases, especially in COVID 19 patients where the patients can be diagnosed in home isolation.


Another example where whole-body ultrasound may help is in tele-obstetrics, which allows obstetricians to provide prenatal care from afar. This could mean, for example, recording a baby's heart at one location and forwarding it to an obstetrician for diagnosis at another facility.

4. Real-time telehealth


Real-time telemedicine requires a live interaction between either a medical professional and patient or between medical professionals via audio and video communication. For example, obstetricians can connect with each other and the patient to monitor the status of the fetus in the womb. The ultrasound scanner transmits live images of the fetus to connected mobile devices. This saves time, money, and problems encountered by pregnant mothers while traveling.


A whole-body ultrasound can help build up a robust telehealth diagnostic system if it meets the following criteria:


  • Seamless network connection

To build up a telehealth medical diagnostic system, first and foremost is the requirement of a stable network connection at all levels. These platforms are designed to transmit physical examination records or medical records remotely or concurrently to a specialist at a different or the same geographical location.


Tele-diagnostic platforms ensure that records of images and videos preserve the diagnostic quality even after being subjected to compression procedures for transmission. For example, a whole-body ultrasound scanner will always deliver high image quality.


Viatom ultrasound scanners come with a built-in wireless WAN that provides a continuously connected infrastructure. Seamless network connectivity allows quick transfer of data from the handheld probe to the mobile device.


  • Advanced software support

Real-time monitoring of body organs and then capturing and transmitting the same high-resolution images to a mobile device wirelessly requires advanced software. Viatom handheld ultrasound scanners are equipped with glitch-free software and a simple user interface that allow a seamless and hassle-free user experience.


The software is powerful and supported by multiple mobile operating systems, which helps in real-time management by healthcare practitioners in the handling of patients.


  • Excellent battery backup

A telehealth diagnostic system needs to have powerful battery backup and quick charge time to allow continuous use without disruptions.


Viatom ultrasound scanners come with excellent batteries that last up to three to five hours. By using a USB cable, these probes can be fully charged just within two hours. This really helps clinicians to diagnose a number of patients without worrying about battery life.


Viatom products for telehealth medical diagnostic system


Now let’s look at some of the unique features of the products:



Uprobe (Linear-Head and Dual-Head full body ultrasound scanners)


These Viatom wireless handheld full-body diagnostic imaging ultrasound scanners are designed for healthcare pros. By possessing linear and convex heads at the same time, Uprobe scans the whole body within one smart device. You can switch from shallow exams to deep exams by flipping around the device. From the deep structures within the abdomen, superficial anatomy, the extremities, and even organs such as the heart can be easily scanned using Uprobe.


Some of its key features include:


● Wireless connectivity, easy to operate.

● Built-in and replaceable battery.

● Support wireless charging.

● Advanced digital imaging technology, clear image.

● Cost-effective, small and light, and easy to carry.

● Applicable in hospital, emergency, clinic, and outdoor.

● Compatible with tablets and smartphones (iOS, Android).

● Intelligent terminal platform, powerful expansion functions on application and storage.


Specification of Linear Head Ultrasound Scanner:

Battery Life

3 ~ 5 hours

Charger

USB charging cable

Dimension

156mm × 60mm × 20mm

Display Mode

B, B/M

Recharge Time

Fully charged within 2 hour

Scanning Mode

Electronic array

Weight

230g


Specification of Dual Head Ultrasound Scanner:

Charger

Wireless

Battery Life

≥2.5 hours

Dimension

156mm x 60mm x 20mm

Weight

260g (0.6 lbs)

Color Doppler Version

B+Color,B+PDI, B+PW

Display Mode

B, B/M

Scanning Mode

Electronic array


For more details about product and its unique features, please CONTACT US.

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