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How Accurate Are Portable Ultrasound Machines?

how accurate are portable ultrasound machines

Shown above: Philips CX-50 and Mindray M7 Premium Portables Ultrasound Machines

As portable ultrasound machines become more common in hospitals and medical clinics, many patients and clinicians wonder if these portable ultrasound devices are as accurate as traditional, high-end ultrasound systems. Because ultrasounds have such a wide range of applications in a variety of different medical specialties, giving a blanket, one-size-fits-all answer is a bit complicated. To help determine the accuracy of portable ultrasounds, a recent literature review in the journal Diagnostics analyzed a number of studies that involved using ultrasounds for pleural and abdominal imaging. Here’s what it found.

About the Study

A recent article by combined the results of 16 different studies to answer questions about the accuracy of portable ultrasounds. Although all of the studies were focused on imaging of the lungs and abdomen, they covered a variety of conditions and medical specialties, including obstetrics, urology, vascular health, and pulmonology.

Each of the studies included in the literature review compared a portable ultrasound to a high-end traditional ultrasound system, but they used a variety of different methodologies. Some had researchers perform the ultrasounds, while others had physicians or sonographers do it. Another study compared the results of handheld ultrasounds when used by experienced operators vs. non-experienced operators. Both studies answered a variety of questions buyers may have when looking to purchase an ultrasound machine.


Kidney Ultrasound Scan using a Mindray M7 Premium Ultrasound Machine

Portable Ultrasound Accuracy

The literature review found that portable ultrasounds are usually in agreement with high-end ultrasound systems. In other words, portable ultrasounds are accurate in most cases. This is good news for the many medical practices and hospitals that have begun using portable ultrasounds for diagnostics. The authors of the study conclude that portable ultrasounds are especially helpful in detecting ascites, as a bedside supplement to physical examination, and in emergency medicine. They are also useful in detecting hydronephrosis, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and examining pleural cavities.

The one area where portable ultrasounds did not stand up to high-end ultrasounds is in evaluating superficial structures, like estimating vascularity in oncology patients, ectopic pregnancies, and examinations of patients who are obese. Knowing this, clinicians can avoid using portable ultrasounds in these circumstances or use them for an initial evaluation only and plan on following up with a traditional ultrasound machine later.

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"iNeedle" Needle Guidance Feature for the Mindray TE5 Portable Ultrasound Machines

The Bottom Line on Portable Ultrasounds

The results of this literature review reaffirm the fact that portable ultrasounds are a great option for a variety of medical applications and that in most circumstances, portable ultrasound devices are just as accurate as standard ultrasound machines. Because traditional ultrasounds are not feasible in all circumstances or for every medical practice, portable ultrasounds offer a viable solution. They are accurate, affordable, and easily transported from room to room, unlike a standard ultrasound.

te5 ultrasound machine trolley

Mindray TE5 Tablet Style Touch Screen Enabled Portable Ultrasound Machine

Learn More About Portable Ultrasounds from Universal Diagnostic Solutions

Are you looking for a portable ultrasound for your medical practice? Do you need help deciding which system is right for your clinic’s needs? Our team can help. Contact us today with any questions you might have or request a quote online and we will get back to you as soon as possible to assist you.

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