Will COVID-19 screens become new norm in ultrasound?

By Philip Ward, AuntMinnieEurope.com staff writer

April 6, 2020 -- Shielding may be on the way out in x-ray, but it's in vogue in ultrasound. A Dutch radiologist has worked with one of the big four imaging manufacturers and technical experts to develop a screen designed to protect staff and patients from COVID-19.

Dr. Herma Holscher, a pediatric radiologist at Haga Teaching Hospital / Juliana Children's Hospital in The Hague, had the initial idea, and the screen is now being used in her department.

Dr. Herma Holscher with a prototype screen
"Super happy with our prototype screen," says Dr. Herma Holscher.

"The prototype screen aims to make the ultrasound environment safer, especially for children, their parents, and the radiologist. This is precisely because today's nonemergency can be tomorrow's emergency care," she noted in a LinkedIn posting.

She developed the screen with Siemens Healthineers. It was custom-built for the hospital by a technical company called Van Vliet Medical in Almere, the Netherlands.

An artist
An artist's impression of how the screen works. Copyright: Siemens Healthineers.

"It took us one week to have it all working. It is a prototype made from plexiglass with two holes (just like an incubator wall, for small interventions), and it is on wheels. So it really is as simple as that!" Holscher told AuntMinnieEurope.com.

The ultrasound screen is available to purchase from Van Vliet Medical at a cost of 1,396 euros, excluding tax. The product is not patented. "I feel, and this feeling is supported by Siemens and Van Vliet Medical, that we should not make a profit out of this crisis; any good idea should be shared. The price of the product is the cost price," she said.

Haga Teaching hospital has nearly 4,000 staff and around 250 medical specialists. It is one of 19 large teaching hospitals in the Netherlands.

Along with Siemens, Holscher has also developed a dedicated thoracic x-ray device for children.

The dedicated thoracic x-ray scanner is useful for children who are too young to do breath-hold
The dedicated thoracic x-ray scanner is useful for children who are too young to do breath-hold. Images courtesy of Dr. Herma Holscher.

"With a mirror, technicians can see the breathing of the child to make proper inspiration -- and on occasion, expiration -- x-rays in children who are too young to do breath-hold," she explained.


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