7 February 2019

Ultrasound as the Future Stethoscope


Ultrasound (USG) examination is now a very useful examination method in the medical world. Ultrasound examination provides a sense of comfort for patients because it can be done without fasting beforehand. Patients can simply hold back urination if the ultrasound is performed on the lower abdomen. Another advantage of ultrasound examination is that it can be done repeatedly without worrying about the effects of radiation, is very easy to operate, can be carried everywhere, can provide fast results, and can be interpreted by many people including lay people.

In the field of obstetrics and gynecology, ultrasound examination is an important and useful type of examination in determining the patient’s condition. Obstetric ultrasound examination can help detect defects that occur in the fetus, for example genetic abnormalities and cleft lip. In addition, ultrasound can also help determine the sex of the fetus, determine the estimated weight of the fetus, and predict the time of birth. Most ultrasound examinations are performed on the abdomen.

However, in certain circumstances an ultrasound examination through the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound) can also be performed, especially during young pregnancy or in detecting gynecological tumors, this is done to get better results or images when compared to ultrasound performed on the abdomen or abdomen. Transvaginal ultrasound is a safe examination for women during pregnancy, this needs to be emphasized because transvaginal ultrasound is often a “scapegoat” for miscarriage during pregnancy.

The probe or scanner of transvaginal ultrasound enters through the vagina until the border of the mouth of the uterus (cervix) only and does not enter the uterus. Often people hear misleading issues about the effects of radiation caused by ultrasound examinations, such as the effects of radiation that can cause fetal disability, miscarriage, and so on. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that ultrasound examination is a safe examination and does not cause any side effects to the mother, fetus, or medical personnel as operators.

Advances in communication technology are now being adapted to ultrasound examinations. Examinations can be carried out in remote areas and even to outer space. Patients in distant places can communicate directly with experts during the examination to analyze and diagnose the patient. There are various types of ultrasound images such as two-dimensional (2D), three-dimensional (3D), and four-dimensional (4D) ultrasound.

The image of the 2D examination results will provide a flat image display with black and white colors, while 3D provides a color display with a three-dimensional image, and for 4D will provide the same image as 3D accompanied by movement and can be recorded in the form of video. The 4D ultrasound examination is currently a favorite examination for pregnant women. 4D ultrasound examination can provide an overview and video display of the fetus directly in the womb. 4D ultrasound allows you to see the shape of the fetus more clearly such as the shape of the face, the baby’s activity, to the internal organs and bones of the fetus.

Examination using Doppler on ultrasound can assess blood flow through blood vessels, whether there is a blockage or decrease in blood flow which can cause various diseases such as stroke, heart attack, blood flow disorders in the umbilical cord, and diagnose tumor types. Earlier mentioned the advantage of ultrasound is that it can be carried anywhere. Nowadays, portable ultrasound is available which makes it easy to carry and use anywhere including during disaster conditions.

For example, during the devastating Tsunami that hit Aceh in 2004, ultrasound examinations became very useful in helping to determine the general condition of the patient. From the various advantages obtained from the ultrasound examination, it can be predicted that in the future this ultrasound can replace the function of the stethoscope that has been used so far. Patients as recipients of health care services are expected to benefit and receive better services.