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What are the applications of handheld ultrasound devices?

What are the applications of handheld ultrasound devices?

Abdominal screening: FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma) is one of the standard protocols in trauma management. It is a rapid bedside ultrasound that is used in the emergency department. It is used to screen for the presence of blood around the heart or abdominal organs. The examination can also be extended to the lungs in order to screen for the presence of pneumothorax.
Portable ultrasound has also proven effective in the detection of abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is as effective as traditional ultrasonography, and the portable ultrasound device can also be used to measure the maximum diameter of the abdominal aorta.

Bladder volume: Residual urinary bladder volume is measured when investigating for urinary incontinence or evaluating urinary tract infections. Usually this is done by catheterization, which is invasive, unpleasant and carries the risk of infection. A handheld ultrasound device offers a convenient alternative to measure bladder volume, and has proven to be almost as accurate.

Cardiovascular applications: While the traditional echocardiography console is still the gold standard in most cardiology units, there are instances where quicker results are required. This can be achieved with the help of a portable ultrasound device. The portable device can assist in screening for cardiovascular diseases. For instance, carotid artery stenosis is often not detected at the primary healthcare center while a duplex ultrasound or an MRI is ordered only in cases of an acute event (such as an infarction or stroke). However, if the portable ultrasound device were used in primary care, it would help identify patients who are at a higher risk of stroke. The device can help dictate proper management of risk factors and it can help select candidates who would benefit from therapeutic procedures, such as endarterectomy.

The handheld ultrasound device can also help screen patients who have clinically suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Prompt detection and management of DVT can help avoid fatal outcomes, such as those associated with pulmonary embolism. The handheld ultrasound device has also been used to detect varicose veins, both primary and those that recur after treatment.

Obstetrics: As with cardiology, the traditional console is most commonly used for obstetrics. As of today, the traditional console cannot be replaced by the portable device, especially for anomaly scans and 4D scans that are used to assess the health of the fetus. However, the portable ultrasound device does have a role to play in obstetrics in the emergency setting. If a pregnant patient presents with bleeding or ruptured membranes, the portable ultrasound device can be used to determine fetal viability and fetal positioning, which can help detect a miscarriage. The amniotic fluid volume can also be measured and management strategies can be planned accordingly.

Musculoskeletal problems: The handheld ultrasound device can be applied in the outpatient clinic to diagnose various musculoskeletal problems. Studies have shown that the handheld ultrasound device can be almost as sensitive as arthroscopy in detecting partial or complete rotator cuff tears of the shoulder. Using ultrasound can help avoid unnecessary MRIs in these patients, which lead to both financial and time savings. The handheld ultrasound device has been used in knee joints to exclude meniscal tears. The portable ultrasound device is also used in the emergency department to screen for swollen joints. This can help exclude a diagnosis of joint effusion.

Ultrasound-guided treatment: The portable ultrasound device can be used to guide treatment in the operating room. Regional anesthetic blocks can be given under ultrasound guidance. Portable ultrasound devices are also useful to detect lesions and masses prior to taking an ultrasound-guided biopsy. In vascular surgery, a handheld ultrasound device may be used to identify blood vessels relevant to the procedure.

(Source from postdicom)


A patient monitoring system is a system or device that helps healthcare providers to monitor physiological signals of a patient's health. It is used for observation and measurement of patient's health parameters such as heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, blood-oxygen saturation, and many other parameters of critically ill patients. Such accurate and immediate information are useful for making crucial decision for effective patient care.

A patient monitor is a device used to record, measure and display multiple biometric values such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, SpO2 and more. The patient monitoring device can be used to monitor the health conditions of infants as well as adults.

The sensors connected to the patient's body carry the information that is displayed on the patient monitor. You can read the parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, oxygen saturation displayed on the machine. Here's how you can interpret the numbers shown in the display -

Heart Rate: Typically, the resting heart rate of a healthy adult is between 60-100 beats per minute.
Blood Pressure: Blood pressure numbers in the range 120/80 are considered to be normal.
Body Temperature: Temperature is reported in degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius. It can be anywhere from just under 98 degrees F to a little over 99.
Oxygen Saturation (SpO2): It is the measure of the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood. The SpO2 is normally 95 or higher.
Respiratory Rate (RR): A resting adult typically breathes 12 to 16 times a minute. It is reported in breaths per minute.

The 5 parameters of a patient monitor are ECG, body temperature, respiratory rate, SpO2 and blood pressure.

The two broad types of patient monitoring systems are bedside patient monitoring systems and remote patient monitoring systems.

Bedside patient monitoring systems
Bedside patient monitoring systems are also referred to as hospital patient monitoring systems. They are used within the hospitals to monitor patients in ER as well as intensive care settings. Bedside patient monitoring systems are not just required for patients in trauma but also for long-term patient monitoring for vital signs to prevent complications and to ensure full recovery.

Remote patient monitoring systems
A remote patient monitoring system is used to monitor patients outside of the hospital i.e remotely. It is also referred to as home patient monitoring system. It enables healthcare providers to monitor a patient's health outside of the hospital. It helps them to track real-time changes in a patient's health data from a distance and use it in planning treatment for the patient.

Patient monitoring is important because it gives us a warning of early or dangerous deterioration of a patient's health so that practitioners can make the necessary changes in their treatment accordingly. The real-time data helps doctors to prioritize their patients and provide urgent care to those who need the most danger thereby saving lives.

Patient monitors are used for continuous measurement of patient parameters such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood-oxygen saturation and many other parameters to take care of critically ill patients.

Tips on How to Choose a Portable ECG Machine

Tips on How to Choose a Portable ECG Machine
An ECG machine, also called an EKG machine, can quickly and effectively measure the rhythm and strength of those beats. So, if your heart experiences abnormal activity, it's important to monitor it regularly.

What is Electrocardiography?
Electrocardiography is the process of producing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which is a recording of the heart's electrical activity, a graph of voltage versus time of the heart's electrical activity using electrodes placed on the skin.

What is an ECG Machine?
ECG or EKG machine, also known as an Electrocardiograph machine uses a non-invasive diagnostic test that evaluates the heart's electrical system to assess the health and functioning of the heart.

How does an ECG Machine Work?
Each beat of the heart is triggered by an electrical impulse, normally generated from special cells in the upper right chamber of the heart. The cells in the heart go through depolarization and repolarization as the heart beats. The ECG machine records these electrical signals by attaching flat electrodes to the outer surface of the skin and a graph of the electrical activity inside the heart is generated.

Types of ECG Devices
Doctors use several types of ECG machines to check for a variety of cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) conditions.

The biggest difference between regular ECG machines and Wearable ECG monitors is that unlike regular ECG Machines, which use 12 leads, the wearable ECG monitor uses just one. In the simplest terms, the 12 lead is taking lots of readings about your heart and the single lead is taking just one.

Tips on what to look for in a Portable ECG Machine

  • Accuracy and Effectiveness of Portable ECG Machine
The main objective of the Portable ECG Machine is to indicate the condition of the heart as per its electrical activities. Thus, the key selection criterion is to find one that produces accurate results within its operating range reliably and consistently. This ensures that the course of action after measurement of the heart's functioning will be the right one to counteract any abnormalities/ fluctuations detected.

  • Connectivity
Some ECG monitors come with Bluetooth connectivity and can connect to smartphone devices to track the user's data and readings.

  • Memory
This allows the user to save previous readings, and it can be useful if they want to show the results to a doctor.

  • Size and Portability
If a person intends to use an ECG monitor while traveling, they should check its dimensions to ensure that it is easy to carry around.

  • Measurement Time
Most devices take 30 seconds to take one reading.

  • Modes
Some monitors allow continuous monitoring. These are the ones that you should prefer for a better idea about the heart's overall functionality.

As there are many models from different manufacturers in the market to choose from, check the features they offer and choose the one that best suits your needs.