Samsung's tablet ultrasound can diagnose patients en route to hospital

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 22, 2014
Samsung's PT60A ultrasound
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced yesterday that the preliminary results of an ongoing trial investigating tablet-based ultrasound in emergency service vehicles have shown promise.

The trial started in early July and since then, six emergency vehicles in the Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan areas have made a total of 91 emergency calls with Samsung's PT60A ultrasound. The ultrasound was used to diagnose trauma, internal bleeding, acute abdominal pain and cardiac arrest.

When the paramedics needed feedback from the physicians, they wirelessly transmitted images from the ultrasound to the hospitals with Trice Imaging's mobile encryption and image management system. Transmitting the images took as little as 30 seconds.

Paramedics at Dallas/Fort Worth Fire Services responded to a cardiac case that involved a rhythm on the monitor but an undetectable pulse. However, when they used the ultrasound machine they were able to verify that the patient's heart was still contracting.

If they weren't able to verify that, they would have had to call their medical director to ask whether they should stop resuscitation efforts.

"Rather than call me to pronounce the patient over the phone, they reached for the ultrasound and saw that the heart was still trying to contract to save itself," Dr. Roy Yamada, EMS medical director, said in a video. "They unleashed [all of the] resources of the ambulance to try to resuscitate this patient and they got a pulse back."

Bedford Fire Department responded to a call from a trauma patient complaining about abdominal pain. The paramedics used the ultrasound machine and found that there was internal bleeding near the patient's liver.

They then transmitted those images in real-time to the hospital and the staff was able to ensure that the appropriate specialists were there to treat the patient. By streamlining the diagnosis process, the hospital staff was able to treat the patient faster, which ultimately led to a better outcome.

To date, over 50 paramedics have been trained to use the ultrasound and have been certified by their chiefs of trauma.

"This trial has demonstrated the significant potential for expanded use of point-of-care ultrasound by emergency services medics," Yamada, said in a statement. "By transmitting images from the Samsung PT60 in the ambulance to specialists at the hospital in real time, we are able to make critical decisions that can save precious minutes and have a tangible impact on outcomes for trauma and cardiac patients."

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