Feature | December 13, 2010| Andrew Zawadowski, M.D., FRCPC, FACC, FESC, FAHA

Pocket Ultrasound Improves Care With Immediate Imaging

VScan offers easy functionality anyone an use

The smallest point-of-care ultrasound platform available is the Vscan, released earlier this year by GE Healthcare. The device is about the size of a personal digital assistant (PDA) device.

In the same fashion that the echocardiogram helped transform the cardiac exam, recent developments in the field of portable ultrasound are providing cardiologists with a new way to visualize the heart at the initial patient screening. Cardiologists can now take a quick look inside of the body in real time to help assess and address some of the challenges that they had previously struggled with at first contact. The convenience portable ultrasound has provided to both doctor and patient has given cardiologists the ability to visualize the pathology and help assess diseases of the heart valves earlier. Now, technology provided in portable echo can help accelerate treatment decisions.

A key component and justification behind this new trend in cardiac care can be attributed to the accessibility that portable ultrasound provides. A pocket-sized visualization tool that has been particularly useful in many practices and hospitals is the GE Vscan. Released earlier this year, Vscan is roughly the size of a smart phone, fitting right into the operator’s coat pocket. The tool, although small in size, delivers excellent image quality efficiently, directly in the examining room or the outpatient clinic.

We found portable echocardiography useful in following patients with pericardial effusion due to post-operative pericarditis. While most often a self-limiting condition requires little more than anti-inflammatory/analgesic treatment, such pericardial reaction on occasion will be a source of considerable morbidity and concern. We found Vscan useful as a bedside tool in this setting. The ability to give the patient and the referring physician immediate feedback was very gratifying.

Portable ultrasound technology can help diagnose a wide spectrum of cardiac conditions and is well suited to help assess cardiac LV function, with its prognostic and diagnostic value, especially in coronary artery disease. Additionally, tools like Vscan allow cardiologists to assess valvular function, blood flow velocities and visualize intracardiac shunts.
Among other functions, Vscan has proved to be a valuable teaching tool. Students appreciate the ability to correlate auscultatory and clinical signs with echocardiographic findings at bedside. This very effective technique can enhance their learning experience.

The interest in Vscan and other portable ultrasound tools does not end at the doctor’s fingertips. In our clinic, Vscan has helped to make our patient’s initial exam more educational and interactive. While most patients are familiar with traditional ultrasound as a concept, they have appreciated the quick feedback that portable ultrasound at point of care has allowed us to give. They tend to appreciate the reassuring aspect of their initial cardiac exam, even if they still have to undergo a full echocardiographic assessment at some later time.

Editor’s note: Andrew Zawadowski, M.D., FRCPC, FACC, FESC, FAHA is assistant clinical professor of medicine, division of cardiology at McMaster University. He is the physician leader of Oakville, Ontario-based Core Cardiology Services, a diagnostic and treatment facility.

Related Content

Konica Minolta, Sonimage HS1, version 3.0, compact ultrasound
Technology | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| April 28, 2016
Konica Minolta introduced the latest version of the Sonimage HS1 compact ultrasound system, enabling improved image...
Siemens Sensis Vibe, hemodyanamics system

Siemens released the Sensis Vibe hemodyanamics system at ACC.16. The newer system offers better integration of cath lab data into cath lab reports and the electronic medical record (EMR).

Feature | ACC| April 25, 2016 | Jon Brubaker, MBA, RCVT, Tom Watson, BS, RCVT, and Sabrina Newell MS, RCS
There were several trends seen in new cardiovascular technologies showcased on the expo floor at the 2016 American...
echocardiography, cardiac ultrasound, E95, GE Healthcare

GE's cSound 4-D echo showing the mitral valve open with chordae tendineae and papillary muscles.

Feature | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| April 21, 2016 | Jeff Zagoudis
Healthcare institutions are trying to drive productivity by increasing patient throughput while still maintaining a
News | Ultrasound Transesophageal echo (TEE)| April 21, 2016
CS Medical announced the release of their newest product designed to aid in the circle of care for transesophageal echo...
Toshiba, Aplio Platinum ultrasound, U.S. Department of Defense, ATO, cybersecurity
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| April 08, 2016
Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. has received authorization to operate (ATO) with the U.S. Air Force for its Aplio...
Carestream Touch Prime XE ultrasound, North Fulton Hospital Georgia, first U.S. purchase
News | Ultrasound Imaging| April 05, 2016
North Fulton Hospital, Roswell, Ga., is one of the first healthcare providers in the United States to purchase the new...
Toshiba, ACC 2016, American College of Cardiology, CT, MR, ultrasound, angiography, interventional radiology

Infinix 4-D CT image courtesy of Toshiba America Medical Systems.

News | Cardiac Imaging| March 30, 2016
Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. announced it would demonstrate the following diagnostic imaging technologies at...
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| March 28, 2016
Civco Medical Solutions announced that it has acquired PCI Medical, a market leader in high-level disinfection products...
Kardia Band, Alivecor

The Alivecor Kardia Band for the Apple Watch enables anyone to perform a medical-grade ECG anywhere.

Technology | Wearable Sensors| March 28, 2016
AliveCor, Inc., the leader in FDA-cleared electrocardiogram (ECG) technology for mobile devices, announced today the
GE cSound
News | March 28, 2016
Conventional ultrasound systems too often yield non-diagnostic exams.
Overlay Init