Implementation of Real-Time Ultrasound in a Thoracic Surgery Practice
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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to implement real-time transthoracic ultrasound in a thoracic surgery and lung transplant practice. DESCRIPTION: Ultrasound units that are light, small, robust, and portable are now available. Obstacles to use include demarcation issues between specialties, training, and a perception that basic ultrasound may be difficult to use. The experience of implementing this is described. EVALUATION: After a training period, 62 studies were performed in 4 months. Patients and clinicians gave positive feedback. The learning time was short, and with ultrasonic guidance, all interventional procedures were successful at the first attempt, without any complications. CONCLUSIONS: Basic transthoracic ultrasound was found to be easy to learn and use by thoracic surgeons, fellows, and specialist nurses. Patients were appreciative. Real-time use may have genuine advantages to patient care.
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