In emergency situations, seconds can count when physicians are working to diagnose and treat critically ill patients. Recently, Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) received three innovative handheld ultrasound devices and are already in use in both the PMC Emergency Department and Intensive Care Units.

The new portable ultrasound devices are small enough to fit in a physician’s pocket, many times eliminating the need to bring a larger ultrasound machine into a patient’s room. In certain cases, the new equipment can eliminate the need to transport vulnerable patients to another area of the hospital for testing.

This valuable equipment was made possible by the Eastern Kentucky Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP).  The program provides grant funding to help prepare healthcare facilities like PMC to save lives by developing regional healthcare coalitions.

The new portable ultrasound units provide high-quality imaging that was once limited to bulkier devices and can be used for 2D, 3D or 4D imaging.  In addition, the pocket-size device is powered by advanced technology for high-contrast resolution and detailed images.

“In the ICU, we quickly move from patient to patient.  Being able to have an ultrasound unit readily available and in our pocket is much more efficient,” said PMC Critical Care Physician Hazim Bukamur, MD.

PMC Director of Emergency Services Dale Morton added, “The PMC ED serves as the first line of aid in a health crisis or trauma situation.  Our physicians can carry the ultrasound device with them, allowing them to see images of a patient’s lungs, heart, or abdomen quicker than with a traditional ultrasound machine.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic at an all-time high infection rate in Eastern Kentucky, keeping infected patients isolated is a top priority.  Cleaning the new handheld devices only takes a matter of seconds, allowing physicians to better care for patients in a fraction of the time it can take with traditional technology.