Februaury 2011

Saving lives is in your hands now! Literally!

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Saving lives is in your hands now! Literally!

VScan is a powerful new diagnostic tool, which is revolutionalising the way healthcare is delivered

As a healthcare professional, you deal with a number of life and death situations every day. Have you ever wished for tools that can help you take a quick look inside a body to save the lives? Precious lives are at stake every day as people have to be taken to facilities far away or specialised centres for taking a look at what’s going on inside the body of a patient who is experiencing emergency situations like cardiac attack, accidents/trauma etc.

A powerful new diagnostic tool is revolutionising the way healthcare is being delivered today. A tiny high-tech device that’s so small, you could put it in your pocket, is helping heart patients. The smart-phone sized device is called “Vscan” from GE Healthcare. It can instantly tell the doctors what’s going on with your heart. It is not a stethoscope, provides visuals of your inner heart health and has clearly taken out the guesswork. It is a friend in deed to help save precious lives, saving people from serious disabilities!

Vscan is redefining patient care definition in the medical history of India.  It is an invaluable tool from an emergency physician’s perspective.  It has the ability to be the first point of detecting disease conditions, even in primary care settings.

S Ganesh Prasad, Director, Ultrasound Business, GE Healthcare South Asia, said, “Technology inventions can play a critical part in bridging these huge gaps that is deterring a healthy India. Healthcare in India is poised for new dimensions with the introduction of Vscan pocket visualisation tool. We believe miniaturisation of technology is the need of the hour for providing rapid access to advanced healthcare for more people at reduced costs. Recently we designed miniaturised ECG systems in India to provide care at the doorstep of people and today we have continued to move forward with Vscan.”

Vscan leverages GE’s high-quality black and white image technology for anatomy and color-coded blood flow in a device that fits into a pocket. It weighs less than one pound, 3 inches wide and 5.3 inches long. Vscan may prove invaluable for physicians in today’s busy practice environment including primary care physicians and those specializing in cardiology, emergency/critical care, women’s health, pediatric as well as hospitals.

GE’s Vscan was introduced in February 2010.  Roughly the size of a smart phone, Vscan houses powerful, ultra-smart ultrasound technology that provides clinicians with an immediate, non-invasive method to help secure visual information about what is happening inside the body. Vscan is portable, battery operated and can easily be taken from room to room to be used in many clinical, hospital or primary care settings. It changed the definition of portable ultrasound, which previously referred to rather large laptop sized devices.  Despite its small dimensions, the Vscan includes features such as power Doppler, and the device is powerful for most applications including emergency medicine, cardiac and obstetric ultrasounds.

“Vscan is a breakthrough innovation from GE Healthcare and has the potential to redefine frontline healthcare practice and patient management with its ability to give non-invasive, visual information of the inside body in real time. Vscan is designed to be complementary to the stethoscope, to help physicians go beyond what they can hear to what they can see. Vscan may become as critical as a stethoscope to a physician in helping to detect disease more quickly. We believe Vscan can reduce the need for more tests and referrals during physical examinations and could make healthcare more accessible to people in India.  Vscan naturally echoes our healthymagination commitment to bring high quality healthcare at lower cost to more people around the world” said V Raja, President & CEO, GE Healthcare South Asia.

Among other functions, Vscan has proved to be a valuable teaching tool. Students appreciate the ability to correlate auscultatory and clinical signs with echocardiographic findings at bedside. This very effective technique can enhance their learning experience.

“The most common practice we (physicians) follow to assess health is to monitor pulse and listen through a stethoscope. To make rapid diagnosis, especially critical, in life threatening situations we need to take a look inside the body. Every minute saved can save a precious life. I wish every physician has a valuable visualization tool like GE Vscan that becomes his/her pocket buddy to help save lives in critical situations. A tool like this can help facilitate detection of diseases at an earlier stage and help people lead a healthy life” said Dr PC Reddy, Executive Chairman, Apollo Hospitals.

“With a high quality visualisation tool like Vscan, early detection of cardiac disease is possible, during primary check ups. By looking inside the body, a physician can identify whether the chest pain or breathlessness of the patient is due to a respiratory issue or a genuine cardiac problem” said Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Hrudalaya, Bangalore and advisor for GE’s healthymagination initiative.

“In accident and trauma cases, quick visualisation plays a critical &important part in saving lives. The first 15 minutes to one hour can decide whether the victim or patient would survive or not. Ultrasound, being the only visualisation technology that provides real-time imaging and can be used at the point-of-care has emerged as a crucial tool for quick diagnosis in accident cases.  A tool like Vscan, which can fit into the pocket of emergency physicians provides additional information for saving lives in our country where one person dies every 5-6 minutes in road accidents and millions of people whose first warning of cardiac problems is death from a cardiac attack,” added Dr Shetty.

“Vscan is an excellent tool for an emergency physician. Vscan can be in his pocket, at his reach, available in the middle of the night, at odd hours, as soon as the patient needs, as many times the patient needs and it is right there to re-assess the patient and make a difference. It helps substantiate our clinical suspicion or diagnosis within minutes of checking a patient.  It is the most valuable tool I have experienced as an emergency physician”, said Dr Mahesh Joshi, Head of the Department, Emergency Department, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.

A Case Study from India

Dr V S Srikanthan, Consultant Cardiologist, The Heart Centre, Pune, SD, 27 year old lady, was admitted to a hospital in Karad, a small town 150 km from Pune with exertional dyspnoea. She was evaluated by the local cardiologist and found to have a tight mitral stenosis. The valve anatomy was considered suitable for percutaneous valvuloplasty (BMV). A senior interventional cardiologist from Pune travels to Karad once a week for interventional procedures. The patient was admitted on that day for the BMV. Since she was scheduled for the first case on that day, she was shifted into the cath lab and prepared for the procedure.  The Cardiologist was carrying the VScan echo machine with him so he did a quick assessment on the table prior to the procedure.

To his surprise he found a large chunk of calcium on the tip of the anterior mitral leaflet and some calcification of the posterior leaflet. The high resolution imaging with the VScan helped detect a problem that could have resulted in a major complication.

The presence of calcium on the leaflets increases the risk of failure and complications associated with BMV. The procedure was abandoned and the patient was advised to go for an open valve repair. The easy portability, the high resolution images and the good colour flow are of great advantage to cardiologists who travel a lot and visit remote centres for patient care.

The Vscan is already allowing emergency medics to assess internal injuries on the way to the hospital. And doctors can take a quick look at a person’s heart murmur within minutes, rather than waiting hours or days for an appointment with an ultrasound technician. The Vscan could soon become as ubiquitous as the stethoscope.

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