When providers need to see what's going on inside a patient's body, Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) can be a powerful ally. The GE HealthCare Venue family of POCUS machines is a simple, fast, and precise solution that enables providers to make confident decisions that improve patient outcomes.
Going from Bedside to Courtside
Compared with imaging modalities like X-ray or CT scans, the portability of POCUS allows it to play a role in a number of different settings—including at a patient's bedside. This becomes especially beneficial when time is of the essence. For example, patients presenting to the ED with undifferentiated shock need a fast diagnosis so they can receive the appropriate treatment. There have been studies that show POCUS improves the diagnostic accuracy of the shock type and final diagnosis in patients presenting with undifferentiated shock. In certain cases, POCUS can potentially shorten the time to a diagnosis, enabling clinicians to start the appropriate treatment faster.1
POCUS isn't limited to a patient's bedside or even to the hospital. POCUS has found its way to rehab facilities and even sat courtside at sports events. Musculoskeletal practitioners can use GE HealthCare’s Venue family to assess tendons, muscles, and joints; the technology also helps physicians monitor a patient's response to treatment over time via a side-by-side view of historical and new images. The Simple Screen allows providers to choose only the UI icons they want on a large ultrasound image for an uncluttered and easy-to-use scan.
POCUS can augment the physical exam to help expedite diagnosis and treatment. One study found that POCUS can reduce the number of radiographs needed to diagnose and manage shoulder dislocations, eliminating the need to readminister a sedative and reducing ED admission times.2
POCUS is also helpful for the patient experience. Beyond being noninvasive and radiation-free, it doesn't require anesthesia or sedation, making it an ideal choice when treating patients in the NICU or PICU. Ultrasound has numerous applications in neonatology, including abdominal, cardiac, and pulmonary assessments. It can even be performed immediately after birth with little disturbance to the infant. POCUS is especially beneficial for assessing respiratory failure—one of the most common diagnoses in the NICU—and evaluating an infant's hemodynamic status.
Increasing Precision with AI Tools
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can further enhance point of care ultrasound. The AI tools that are part of the Venue Family suggest measurements for physicians to use when making their final decision. The physician can edit the measurement as needed. Auto VTI uses machine learning to find the right location and trace the spectral Doppler signal before calculating and displaying the VTI while the operator scans. AI also helps localize image acquisition. Machine learning can enable auto distinguishing between real B-lines and other artifacts, while AI classifies artifacts versus B-lines. These tools' precise results help enable faster clinical decision support.
AI can also integrate a patient's anatomical photos with their ultrasound images. Using an intelligent photo assistant embedded in a digital ultrasound platform, physicians can view an anatomical photo and ultrasound image together. This provides visual context to confirm findings and aid in documenting clinical symptoms.
Ultrasound can play a major role in anesthesiology.
Injecting anesthetic prior to surgery requires pinpoint precision. When performing a regional block, the needle has to come very close to the nerve without actually going inside it. Getting the needle in the right place on the first try is extremely important for the patient's comfort.
POCUS can provide a crisp, detailed image that shows the provider exactly where they are placing the needle. Ultrasound guidance helps users avoid structures that could be damaged by the needle and visualizes the needle tip to confirm alignment with the intended path. In turn, operators can adjust the needle tip position as necessary to optimize anesthesia administration.
The portability of POCUS also allows providers to move the system from the block room to the recovery room or to the ICU. A battery-powered system can roll right up to a patient's bedside, so there are no cords or plugs to worry about.
The Venue family also aids regional anesthesia by automatically setting image parameters, including comments and body patterns, on the current image to match the prior image to ensure a confident assessment between exams. A wide field of view allows users to visualize more of the patient's anatomy in a single scan.
Improving Vascular Access Assessment
POCUS can be beneficial for helping clinicians visualize vessels when they need to perform cannulation.3 The traditional "look, listen, and feel" method, also known as "blind" cannulation, may damage vessels or cause delays in treatment. Additionally, repeated cannulation in one location may weaken the vessel wall and increase the risk of an aneurysm. POCUS can help guide cannulation in real time and even work alongside other vascular clinical assessments.
GE HealthCare’s Venue family can decrease complications associated with several vascular access procedures through easy-to-use enhanced tools. Button probes allow clinicians to perform procedures while controlling multiple parameters directly from the probe without breaking the sterile field.
Acting as Your Partner in that Critical Moment
No matter what care setting you're in, the GE HealthCare Venue ultrasound family can help provide the clarity, speed, and precision to accelerate diagnoses and save more lives. With exceptional ease of use and image quality, the Venue family offers the power to image almost anyone, regardless of size or condition.
The Venue family is designed to simplify complex processes using automated and advanced clinical tools to enable faster assessments. AI tools help ensure consistency from user to user, whether a new user or expert. As ultrasound technology and techniques continue to evolve, providers may use POCUS in even more care settings for broader applications.
- Berg I, Walpot K, Lamprecht H, et al. A systemic review on the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound in patients with undifferentiated shock in the emergency department. Cureus. 2022;14(3): e23188. https://www.cureus.com/articles/70646-a-systemic-review-on-the-diagnostic-accuracy-of-point-of-care-ultrasound-in-patients-with-undifferentiated-shock-in-the-emergency-department#!/
- Jackson S, Hung ML, Kerkhof DL, et al. Point-of-care ultrasound, the new musculoskeletal physical examination. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2021;20(2): 109-12. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2021/02000/Point_of_Care_Ultrasound,_the_New_Musculoskeletal.11.aspx.
- Schoch M, Bennett PN, Currey J, et al. Point‐of‐care ultrasound use for vascular access assessment and cannulation in hemodialysis: a scoping review. Seminars in Dialysis. 2020;33(5): 355-68. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/sdi.12909.