Londonâs Air Ambulance, a charity that provides pre-hospital medical care to victims of serious injury throughout London, is testing the impact of five portable, pocket-sized GE Healthcare Vscan visualisation devices for its helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS).
For an eight week period, the Vscan device will be used by Londonâs Air Ambulance team to visually and non-invasively inspect the inside of patientâs body prior to transport, assessing the presence of fluid, and potentially speeding up clinical decisions and enhancing survival prospects. The device will be used for FAST scanning (focused assessment with sonography in trauma), a technique used in emergency medicine to quickly assess the presence of fluid (blood) in the abdomen, pelvis and pericardium. Such a build-up of fluid, a possible risk after a blunt trauma injury, can cause cardiac tamponade, or compression of the heart, an emergency condition that often requires emergency surgery.
Currently, Londonâs Air Ambulance clinicians rely on clinical assessment rather than imaging to detect cardiac tamponade, or palpation (feeling for abdominal distension) to detect internal bleeding. Vscan enables visual assessment of internal fluid from ruptured organs or major blood vessels, before clinical signs typically appear, and can therefore be used to help evaluate how severe the internal bleeding is.