An ongoing trial program that equipped emergency vehicles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with tablet-based ultrasound systems from Samsung Electronics America has generated positive results for victims of trauma, internal bleeding, acute abdominal pain, and cardiac arrest.
The program, which started July 1, 2014, outfitted six emergency vehicles at Bedford, Hurst, and DFW airports with Samsung’s PT60A ultrasound tablet and Trice Imaging’s mobile encryption and image management system. The technology, which enables transmission of images in as little as 30 seconds, was used on 91 callouts to facilitate early diagnosis and to allow emergency responders to communicate with physicians prior to arriving at the hospital.
“Time to the operating theater is critical in determining the survival of trauma patients,” said Raj Gandhi, MD, trauma medical director, John Peter Smith Hospital, Fort Worth. “By receiving ultrasound images from the emergency services personnel while the patient is enroute, I can make a more accurate determination if surgery is required and have the patient transported directly to the operating room. This trial points to a significant opportunity to improve our emergency services protocols that has the potential to save many lives.”
In some cases, transmission of ultrasound images to the hospital from the vehicle enabled earlier identification of internal bleeding or fluids, and ensured the proper specialists were on hand upon the patient’s arrival. Medics at the DFW Fire Department have also used the tablets for cardiac patients presenting with no pulse to detect heart movement, leading them to continue resuscitation efforts and restore spontaneous circulation, ending with eventual patient discharge. To date 50 medics have been trained on the technology.
“This trial has demonstrated the significant potential for expanded use of point-of-care ultrasound by emergency services medics,” said Roy Yamada, MD, EMS medical director for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. “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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