What is no doubt the primary and known method for cardiovascular disease diagnosis is the 2D sonographer operated ultrasound. But then, has its own limitations, despite having one of the most affordable imaging modalities for diagnosis, less harmful radiation to the patient, the 2D ultrasound cannot be easily afforded, can be very inconsistent and produces only 2D scans, a major impediment.
There is also the problem of having skilled sonographers around, as they are in short demand; with their careers often times shortened by repetitive strain injury (RSI) as a result of constant exposure to 2D ultrasound machines, after years of operating it.
It is on the aegis of this that Sydney-based medical device start-up company, Vexev has developed the first ever tomographic ultrasound robot (TUR), a move to help make medical diagnostics affordable, accessible and insightful.
After spending two years in stealth mode, the TUR will be tested in clinical trials at the Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs Vascular Imaging, located at the Prince of Wales Hospital, in a trial supported by Dr Shannon Thomas, A/Prof Ramon Varcoe, Dr Andrew Lennox and Dr Tom Daly, who are renowned Australian vascular surgeons.
Matt Adams, the senior vascular sonographer from the Australian Sonographers Association, elated with the unveiling of the new device posited:
“Vexev’s device has the potential to evolve the role of Vascular Sonographers, minimizing low skill, high volume aspects of typical workflow. It may also assist in combating the well documented shortage of skilled Vascular Sonographers in the workforce, and high incidence of repetitive strain disorder. With extra time on their hands, this highly skilled group of healthcare professionals may have the chance to expand their scope of practice – whether that be in education, research or therapeutic intervention.”
The new technology has been fashioned out in such a way that it automates the entire ultrasound procedure, reducing the complexities sonographers encounter in ultrasound duties.
The Vexev’s TUR technology apart from increasing the efficiency and the 2D ultrasound quality consistency also redefines diagnostics with the production of 3D tomographic ultrasound outputs that is analogous to MRIs and CTs, in the process significantly making diagnostics more powerful.
This will in no small measure help previously uneconomical 2D ultrasound clinical settings like dialysis clinics and regional clinics, in adopting an imaging diagnostics ability.
Sonographers will be able to produce 3D diagnostics outputs with the Vexev’s device, akin to the one of MRI radiographers and the CT scan, have more scans easily completed in a day, and remove the incidence of repetitive strain injuries (RSI).