23 Oct 2013

We have been trialing GE Healthcare’s pocket-sized ultrasound device, Vscan, during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  The device allows our doctors and paramedics to easily and non-invasively inspect the inside of a patient’s body on scene, assessing the presence of internal bleeding as well as other life threatening conditions prior to hospital.

 We have experienced increased demand during the Olympic Games and expects similar during the Paralympic Games period when London sees a significant increase in visitors.

The Vscan is intended by London’s Air Ambulance to be used for FAST scanning (focused assessment with sonography in trauma), a technique used in emergency medicine to quickly assess the presence of fluid (blood) in the abdomen, pelvis and pericardium — the outer covering sac of the heart.  Such a build-up of fluid (a possible risk after a blunt trauma injury) can cause cardiac tamponade, or compression of the heart, an emergency condition that often requires emergency surgery.

Currently, our doctors rely on clinical assessment rather than imaging to detect cardiac tamponade, or palpation (feeling for abdominal distension) to detect internal bleeding. Vscan enables visual assessment of internal fluid from ruptured organs or major blood vessels, even before clinical signs typically appear, and can therefore be used to help evaluate how severe the internal bleeding is.

Professor David Lockey, Research and Development Lead for London’s Air Ambulance, explains:  “London’s Air Ambulance prides itself on delivering medical innovation to increase the survival and recovery of its patients.  Vscan should enable our team to make faster and more accurate clinical decisions — when time is of the essence.  We have used portable ultrasound devices before but the size and image quality provided by the Vscan has the potential to make a difference to our patients."

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