Ultrasound: The way forward for critical care?

Ultrasound technology is playing a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of critical care patients at Watford Hospital, part of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Devaraja Acharya, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care, said: “The hospital serves a population of around 600,000 and has a busy 19-bed ICU which relies on point-of-care ultrasound technology to assist patient diagnoses, and to guide invasive procedures such as the insertion of chest drains.”

“Ultrasound is very important in critical care, and so we invested in a SonoSite X-Porte point-of-care system for ICU, complementing the trust’s MicroMaxx and S-Nerve, which are used in theatres to perform regional blocks. This standardisation makes it easier for staff to switch between systems, and is better for risk management and servicing. The system’s touchscreen operation is very straightforward, allowing you to toggle between transducers at the touch of a button, without the need to disconnect and connect.

"This, along with the excellent image quality and resolution, is a big advantage in time-critical care. Another benefit is the dual screen, which is ideal for training purposes. Trainees can scan a patient and visualise the image on the upper screen, simultaneously comparing it with a learning module displayed on the bottom screen, helping them to develop their practical skills. It’s the way forward for hands-on ultrasound training.”

 

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