The global pandemic of COVID-19 has put to challenge every sector, be that business sector, economic sector, or health sector. On March 11, 2020, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The diagnosis and risk stratification of patients with symptoms of COVID has been a challenge for healthcare systems all around the world. When the virus was getting out of hand, health professionals did everything to get it back under control. They used different medical methodologies and tools to diagnose it and to find a plausible antidote. One such machine that was very helpful during the pandemic was Ultrasound Scanner. This article will tell you how does Ultrasonic scanner helps COVID-19?
Pulmonary ultrasonography in patients with COVID-19 VS Ultrasound of normal Lungs
The tests available to diagnose COVID-19 include Molecular tests (Which has low sensitivity and results are not readily available), chest X-ray (CXR), which is considered to be a poor diagnostic test for COVID-19, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)(the test also has low sensitivity, i.e., 72%). And Computed Tomography (CT), whose sensitivity is pretty fair (88-97%), but it is an impractical test for all COVID-19 patients—leaving us with the one option, i.e., Pulmonary ultrasonography.
Ultrasonography of Lungs is a fairly new test, as we cannot imagine the Lung using ultrasound due to high acoustic mismatch between the air and the soft tissues of the organ. But recently, clinicians have discovered that due to the presence of health conditions, ultrasound artifacts can be made. Ultrasonography is, therefore, very helpful in diagnosing different lung pathologies and especially against COVID-19.
Interpreting any pulmonary ultrasonography requires high operator skills, sometimes due to the lack of which makes it a less adaptable method for COVID detection. As little as 4 hours of training is required to able to detect the B-lines from lung ultrasonography.
When we compare pulmonary ultrasonography images of a normal lung and the one with COVID-19, we can see that the ultrasonography of a normal Lung shows a sharp and smooth Pleural line. And it lay inferior to and bordered on each side by dark rib shadows. A-line appears as bright-line inferior to the pleural line, and they are equidistant from the transducer. It is shown in figure 1.
The person with the Coronavirus can show irregularities in the pleural line, A-line and B-lines. The following figures show pulmonary ultrasonography of Covid-19 patients. Figure 2 shows an image that has small, peripheral localized consolidation and irregular Pleural line appearances.
Figure 2: Red arrows showing Pleural line irregularities in COVID-19 patient
Figure 3 shows an ultrasonographic image that shows discrete B-lines arising from a thin pleural line (Left), Confluent B-lines (Right).
Figure 4 shows an image that has larger consolidation stippled with an air bronchogram.
How does an ultrasonic scanner help COVID-19?
Studies have confirmed that pulmonary ultrasonography has a sensitivity, which is around 78.6%. So Ultrasonic scanner offers a cost-effective, sensitive, fast and reliable method of COVID-19 detection, which can be a lifesaver. Pulmonary ultrasonography could be a relevant alternative to chest CT.
COVID-19 attacks the terminal alveoli in the peripheral area of the Lung, and lesions tend to be close to the pleura, which is where ultrasound works perfectly. The ultrasonic scanner detects those lesions by sending high-frequency sound waves and recording the reflected waves from the lesions, thus confirming the presence of COVID-19. The test is very simple to conduct, and usually, it can be carried out at the bedside.
The main signs of lung ultrasound in COVID-19 patients are as follows:
1.Thickening of pleural line with the irregular shape of pleural line；
2. Multiple types of B-line patterns, including focal type, multiple discrete types, and fusion types;
3. Various types of lung consolidation, including small multifocal flakes, non-lobe types, and lobar types, occasionally accompanied by movable air bronchial signs；
4. Line A appears in the recovery phase;
5. Pleural effusion is rare.
The lesions of early or mild COVID-19 patients can be focal pulmonary interstitial infiltration. Ultrasound can find local pleural thickening at the lesion site, with discrete B-line at the back, indicating pulmonary interstitial inflammation.
In the progressive stage of COVID-19, multiple lobes of lung interstitial and alveolar infiltration can be seen. Ultrasound shows multiple focal B-lines, where discrete B-line indicates lung interstitial infiltration, and fusion B-line indicates alveolar infiltration. In the latter case, the sliding of the pleura was further weakened, suggesting that the lung ventilation in this area became worse.
Severe or critically ill patients may have different degrees of lung consolidation, with tissue-like echoes in the lung lobes, accompanied by fragmentation or bronchial signs, suggesting that the alveoli are collapsed, and ventilation is further reduced.
In light, severe and critically ill patients, the lung ultrasound score showed a significant gradient. It shows that the lung ultrasound score can be used to assess the severity of COVID-19. Lung ultrasound helps to perform repeated screenings many times a day, compare the patient's lung disease before and after, and fully understand the worsening or improvement of lung disease.
At the same time, it can reduce the shortcomings of transport risks and radiation of critically ill patients who are transported to the imaging department for examination.
Pulmonary ultrasound can complete the titration regulation of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) in mechanical ventilation, select the best ventilator index, and guide lung recruitment.
Application scenarios of Ultrasonic scanner
The ultrasonic scanner is a device that is used to examine internal body structures. The first sonographic test of the Lung was carried out more than 50 years ago. Apart from the application of pulmonary ultrasonography, ultrasonic scanners are helpful against many other health concerns, such as abdominal scans, pelvic scans, pregnancy scans, musculoskeletal scans, etc. Ultrasonic scanners are extensively used by healthcare systems. Some of the departments that use ultrasonic scanners include:
The visualization examination equipment and diagnosis and treatment technology represented by ultrasound examination has highlighted its significant clinical application value in anesthesia and perioperative department clinical work. Ultrasound can be called the anesthesiologist's third eye. In addition, ultrasound also plays a vital role in monitoring patients' perioperative safety and surgical effect.
Intracardiac ultrasound can provide a clearer real-time image of the heart structure, which can assist doctors in accurately identifying thrombosis in the auricle, guide the ablation catheter to accurately reach the predetermined anatomical position, and significantly reduce perioperative complications.
Ultrasound is very sensitive in diagnosing hydronephrosis. As long as there is a few milliliters of urine in the renal pelvis, it will be found by ultrasound, which is manifested by the separation of renal sinus echo. Its advantage is the early detection of ureteral obstruction, such as ureteral stones. In the onset of renal colic, there will be renal sinus echo separation, which helps make a diagnosis. In addition, ultrasound diagnosis of hydronephrosis not only shows the presence or absence of hydronephrosis in the renal pelvis, calyces, and ureters but also shows the renal parenchyma and blood supply. Moreover, the use of ultrasound to diagnose kidney disease does not require contrast agents. There is no contraindication for iodine allergy, and the image can still be displayed for those who have lost or temporarily lost kidney function.
Ultrasound is a real-time non-invasive imaging technology. Image measurement is highly correlated with pathology. Images can explain the characteristics and surrounding structures of the tumor and assist in the clinical evaluation of skin tumors. It can assist in diagnosing the location, depth, and surrounding satellite lesions of the tumor before surgery, thereby helping to develop a surgical plan and monitoring the therapeutic effect after surgery.
5. Elderly care
The use of ultrasound in the nursing department has many clinical advantages. In addition to pericardial effusion, ultrasound is helpful in the diagnosis of pulmonary symptoms or infection, pleural seal, aortic aneurysm, urinary tract obstruction, gallstones, and the study of neck and lower extremity blood vessels and digestive tract infectious diseases. Those old people who can't walk easily can save a lot of queuing and waiting time and reduce the original examination time from 4 to 8 hours to 10 minutes.
Ultrasonic scanners are suitable for scanning almost every part of the human body.
Which diseases need an ultrasonic scanner?
The ultrasonic scanner is used to diagnose a wide range of diseases; the following list contains some of the most common diseases which can be detected using an ultrasonic scanner.
5.Digestive problems such as cysts, gallstones, liver cancer, etc.
The development history of Ultrasonic scanner
The use of Ultrasonic scanners began shortly after the second world war. Ultrasonic energy was first applied to the human for medical purposes in the 1940s by Dr. George Ludwig. The first medical published work on ultrasonics was published by Dr. Karl Theodore Dussik in Austria in 1942. Another worth mentioning effort is of Professor Lan Donald and his colleagues in Glasgow in the mid-1950s, which helps much in the development of practical technology. Since then, many advancements and improvements have been made in ultrasonic scanners. As a result of which, today, we have the ultrasonic scanner in the most refined form.
Ultrasonic scanners of Viatom and their advantages
It is the perfect moment to introduce Viatom’s two most innovative ultrasonic scanners, which are very effective in detecting different diseases, including COVID-19. Namely, Linear head ultrasonic scanner and dual head ultrasonic scanner. These smart scanners can be used to scan your whole body in minutes. Moreover, the devices are very reliable, and they offer many benefits. The following are the top 3 advantages of our two ultrasonic scanners.
Viatom has designed ultrasonic scanners to be portable. And you can carry this device with you anywhere you go. The weight of the linear head is only 230g, while the dual-head ultrasonic scanner is 260g.
2.Advanced digital imaging technology, clear image
The portable ultrasound scanner is designed to give a clear image of the scans so that you can see any small detail in maximum clarity for a quick diagnosis.
3.Easy to disinfect
The device supports fully wireless operations, making it are very easy to disinfect. It helps to reduce the risk of infection during the pandemic.
Moreover, the devices are cost-effective and have built-in and replaceable batteries. Moreover, wireless connectivity makes it possible to send data remotely.
Viatom is a pioneer in medical equipment manufacturing and distribution. We are a professional high-tech company specializing in the R&D and production of home medical devices. Providing wearable medical solutions is one of our primary goals to help people understand and control their health. Our products are trusted by medical practitioners and laboratories from all around the world. Contact us and place your order for a handheld ultrasound scanner today.