Portable pilot needs detailed follow-up

Midwife Pam Conaghy, at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, uses an Acuson P10 handheld ultrasound system to scan a patient.


A pilot study involving eight community midwives from Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust suggests that portable ultrasound has the potential to reduce hospital admissions for presentation scans.  This would eliminate the need for patients in remote areas to travel to appointments and encourage more home births.  


Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Myles Taylor and obstetric specialist registrar Tom Smith-Walker carried out a pilot study to investigate the feasibility of using a portable ultrasound device in community midwifery practice. 


The device was used by eight midwives in Exeter for one month, scanning expectant mothers in the third trimester.  Initial feedback from a user questionnaire highlighted the system’s ease-of-use and, with further exploration, confidence in its capability to reduce hospital referrals.


An Acuson P10 handheld ultrasound system from Siemens Healthcare was used during the trial.  It is small enough to fit into a coat pocket, weighing just 700 grammes and capable of image depth from four to 24 cm. 


“In our feto-maternal assessment unit an average of 30 patients per month are referred for presentation scans,” said Tom Smith-Walker.  “Feedback from the midwives using the P10 suggests that it certainly has the potential to reduce such visits through use in rural locations with scattered communities.” 


See the full report on page 6 of the August 2010 issue of RAD Magazine

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