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How to Make Handheld Ultrasound Play a Long-term Role in Clinical Practice?

In the first stage of the epidemic, all of China's hospitals outside Wuhan were overwhelmed by the tension brought by the virus. Stork also sent their products to the hospital.

At the Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr. Nie Qian of the Department of Cardiology said: "We used to joke that our cardiology department is the cleanest department in the hospital because there are no infectious diseases. But during the epidemic, even non-first-line departments have to face tremendous pressure. How to treat patients in an orderly manner during the special period and complete the transportation during the disease is a great challenge for us. And handheld ultrasound machine has brought us great convenience for accurate diagnosis."

He gave an example. During the epidemic, the emergency department received a patient with difficulty breathing and needed a cardiology consultation.

The patient had difficulty breathing, but it was not typical chest pain. In the special period at that time, this was not a small problem for doctors. They need to determine whether the patient has cardiogenic dyspnea or pulmonary dyspnea. In such a period that the new coronavirus is highly contagious, only a fast diagnosis can reduce the infection.

"The patient's symptoms were very strange at the time. He was in his 60s and his emergency ECG showed no obvious abnormalities. There was a slight abnormality in the blood examination, and the neutrophils were higher. We could not accurately judge the condition by observation. If it is a typical heart failure, lying flat will aggravate the symptoms of dyspnea, but he can lie flat. If it is a pulmonary disease, he does not have symptoms such as coughing. However, if the patient is moved for chest CT at the moment, he is at risk."

Finally, Dr. Nie decided to use a handheld wireless ultrasound probe to confirm the patient's condition under limited conditions.

"Handheld ultrasound device can be used to rule out whether the patient has a cardiogenic problem. Through color Doppler ultrasound imaging, we found that there is a paradoxical movement in the patient's anterior ventricle, which indicated that the patient had hyperacute myocardial ischemia.

The Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a national heart failure treatment center and also a unit of the Chinese Medical Association Heart Failure Center. The cardiology department has been using ultrasound to assist in diagnosis and treatment for a long time. And the Second Department of Cardiology, where he works, is the only department in the Chinese medicine community that is equipped with colour Doppler ultrasound room. Doctors in the affiliated hospitals are all proficient in the use of ultrasound for diagnosis. Dr. Nie said that handheld ultrasound can also play an important role in clinical diagnosis and treatment.

"In daily diagnosis, if we encounter an emergency patient, we need to determine whether he is an acute aortic dissection or an acute myocardial infarction, whose treatment directions are opposite. If not handled properly, the patient will die. In the past, our diagnosis method for acute myocardial infarction was to move dozens of kilograms of ultrasound equipment. Handheld ultrasound can be directly placed in the pocket, allowing the doctor to get more clinical data. Therefore, the pocket ultrasound device can not only reduce the rate of misdiagnosis but also lower the burden of the doctor's work.

From a long-term perspective, given the normal development condition, the clinical promotion of handheld ultrasound still needs to tackle with the problems of user education and expansion of clinical departments. Emergencies greatly change the behaviour of doctors and change some of the thresholds, so more needs have been tapped.

After the epidemic, medical digitization and intelligence will speed up, and artificial intelligence will be paid attention again. However, there is no doubt that this epidemic will further widen the gap between AI medical companies. Therefore, only AI companies that have mature products that can truly be used in clinical practice can make through and receive development dividends.

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