All Imaging Systems spoke to Dr. Kris Kuhl who is an Anesthesiologist in Fremont, California. He has 11 years of experience and has seen the evolution of ultrasound imaging from the start of his career. Currently ultrasounds are used on a daily basis for nerve blocks to anesthetize patients. In the past pre-ultrasound days, blocks were performed using a “stim needle” to find the nerve using electrical stimulation. This technique was time consuming, uncomfortable for the patient, and had lower rates of success. Today he is able to pinpoint the nerve location and use ultrasound to guide his needle. Without the use of ultrasounds, he feels precision was impacted.
Dr. Kuhl also mentioned he uses ultrasound machines as a fall back for intravenous (IV’s) with difficult to find veins. He can now scan a patient arm to pinpoint the location of a vein to avoid extra pokes in the arm. This again puts the patient at ease. Nurses all over the hospital have also been requesting the use of the ultrasound systems.
Another example when ultrasounds are used is to locate the artery in the wrist (radial artery). Previously he had to palpate the radial artery pulse and place his needle entirely by feel.
Ultrasounds are used to place central lines in a large vein in the neck when needed for cardiac and trauma surgeries. This procedure done with ultrasound guidance has reduced complications and is the “gold standard” for central line placement. It allows Doctors a clarity to identify the many important structures in the neck.
At the medical facility where he practices, he has two portable ultrasound machines which are in high demand. Dr. Kuhl believes that ultrasound machines have revolutionized the medical field, and only sees the systems being used more frequently in the future.