Feb 272011
 
Medical Ultrasound Scanner By Daniel W. Rickey...

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Point-of-care ultrasonography may also allow more widespread, less expensive screening for certain illnesses

Clinicians have often referred to ultrasound technology as the “stethoscope of the future,” predicting that as the equipment shrinks in size, it will one day be as common at the bedside as that trusty tool around every physician’s neck. According to a new report in The New England Journal of Medicine, that day has arrived.

The “Current Concepts” article by Yale School of Medicine clinicians Christopher L. Moore, M.D., and Joshua A. Copel, M.D., outlines how ultrasound use has moved beyond traditional specialties like radiology and is now being routinely employed by clinicians across myriad medical specialties and practice areas. From anesthesia to vascular surgery, Moore and Copel say, the use of ultrasonography has increased across the board, with the biggest growth seen among non-radiologists.

Over the past two decades, the equipment used in ultrasonography — a safe, effective and non-invasive form of imaging that aids in diagnosis and guides procedures — has become more compact, higher quality and less expensive, leading to the growth of point-of-care ultrasonography, which is performed and interpreted by the clinician at the bedside.

“Ideally, point-of-care ultrasonography can decrease medical errors, provide more real-time diagnosis, and supplement or replace more advanced imaging in appropriate situations,” said Moore, assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “Point-of-care ultrasonography may also allow more widespread, less expensive screening for certain illnesses.”

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