Children's intensive care doctors in Southampton have become the first in the UK to use a pioneering ‘pocket’ ultrasound probe which beams scans instantly to an iPhone or iPad.
The technology, known as the Butterfly iQ and developed by US company Butterfly Network, allows clinicians “unprecedented and immediate access” to imaging in life-saving situations.
It has been tested by Dr Michael Griksaitis, a consultant in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Southampton Children's Hospital, and his team and will be funded by dedicated charity Friends of PICU.
The devices, which are the size of an electric shaver and cost £1,699 each, are fitted with a single silicon chip the size of a postage stamp and come with a mobile app that interprets images using artificial intelligence.
In addition to being used routinely on PICU, additional probes will be used on the retrieval ambulances which bring critically-ill young patients to Southampton and for educational and training purposes.
“This device is a game-changer for us,” said Dr Griksaitis. “It is portable, quick, easy to use and provides immediate ultrasound in life saving situations – such access is unprecedented.
“It allows us to scan hearts, lungs, brains, vessels and tissue using an iPhone or iPad as the screen and, although we are using it for babies and children, it can be used for all ages.”
Dr Iain Macintosh, a consultant in PICU and former director of the unit, added: “We are the first PICU in the country to use this technology and we have reported good findings, so I anticipate it very quickly becoming a must-have piece of kit for units nationwide.”
Mark Hilder, secretary of Friends of PICU, said: “We are particularly supportive of the retrieval service and are proud to say we have donated the funds to purchase three ambulances, plus trolleys and other medical equipment.
“These state-of-the-art ultrasound devices will be equally as important in the future care of patients who are retrieved, as well as on PICU and other wards in emergencies, so we are delighted to be part of such revolutionary development.”
For more information on the work of Friends of PICU or to make a donation, visit www.friendsofpicu.org.uk.
Posted on Thursday 7 November 2019