Ultrasound in Pediatric Practice

Any time a parent has to bring their child to the pediatricians for anything beyond the common appointments or check-ups, there is a certain amount of trepidation. Then, when you have a youngster who is afraid of the doctor and any type of procedure, the stress levels only increase. This stress can be manifested in tears, tantrums and refusal to allow the doctor to proceed – not to mention it can taint all future visits to the doctor.

But, when there are internal injuries or concerns, fear can be intensified and the need for answers is great. This is where the use of a bedside ultrasound can be a great boon. Whether it is used for determining the extent of an injury from a fall or vehicle accident or implemented as part of identifying a pericardial effusion, having an ultrasound for use in pediatric visits can make a huge difference – especially in the field of pediatric emergency care.

Implementing the Ultrasound in Pediatric Medicine

Using the point of care ultrasound in pediatric medicine is still a relatively new approach; in fact, in the early 2000’s it would have been rare to see it in use! However, as times have changed and medicine has advanced the use of ultrasound, especially in emergency situations, critical care and neonatology has become common.

Today, pediatricians use ultrasound to guide invasive procedures, to quickly focus evaluations in critically ill patients, and to reduce the exposure to radiation. Unlike the once standard approach of relying on their eyes, hands and a stethoscope to determine what is happening with their young patients, today’s pediatricians can use point of care ultrasound to obtain critical information without their young patients dealing with excessive pain or risks.

Consider this study from NCBI regarding the accuracy of ultrasound in the tomography. Over the course of 6 years, 140 pediatric imaging studies were reviewed. It was found that those cases where sensitivity, specificity and predictive values were concerned that the ultrasound was determined to meet the gold standard and demonstrated that ultrasound was equally sensitive and a more specific tool than using a CT alone. Better yet, it was determined to be a safe and effective approach when there is an undetermined probability of abscess.

Another study found that using ultrasound in the determination of pediatric appendicitis resulted in quicker action and less oversite. When there is a concern about appendicitis in children, it can be difficult to determine based on the same scans and testing used with adults because there can be challenges in determining specificity. Using an ultrasound increases the detection by 94%.

These are but two examples of how the use of ultrasound technology is improving the field of pediatric medicine. As time goes on there are sure to be more. Don’t wait until you find yourself thinking, “I wish I could have used ultrasound in this case”. Make the decision to ultrasound to your pediatric practice today. Give National Ultrasound a call today to learn how the point of care ultrasound can make your practice better than ever.