Pocket ultrasound bleeding to save IDF lives

Device the size of a mobile phone locates internal bleeding quickly and noninvasively to be used by IDF behind enemy lines.

By
November 28, 2010 01:22
2 minute read.
Mini ultrasound machine

ultrasound 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

It is the size of a mobile phone and can fit in your pocket. But instead of being used to make phone calls, it can save your life by locating internal bleeding quickly and noninvasively.

Called Vscan and manufactured by General Electric, this device, which closely resembles Motorola’s Razr model cellular phone, is a miniature and portable ultrasound machine that the IDF Medical Corps recently decided to purchase and distribute to special forces that operate far from Israel, behind enemy lines.

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The ultrasound device weighs just 390 grams and comes with a display unit and a small probe that is used to inspect a body. It features a color-coded overlay that shows real-time blood flow, and has a battery that lasts one hour.

Each unit costs tens of thousands of dollars.

The Medical Corps began searching for a miniature ultrasound device after a request was issued by a number of elite IDF units. The units, which operate covertly in enemy territory, do not have the luxury of having medical teams waiting nearby in case soldiers are wounded, and therefore have to rely on themselves and the equipment they carry.

“This gives units the ability to independently treat wounded,” Maj. Guy Lakovsky, from the Medical Corps’ research-and-development division, explained on Thursday. “If there is a soldier wounded and you need to find internal bleeding, this gives you the ability to do so quickly and without random cutting into a body.”

Regular battalions operate together with medical teams that usually move slightly behind the combat teams but are accessible in case of an emergency.

Buying the new ultrasound machines fits into the general trend in the IDF Medical Corps, which has been focused in recent years on developing and procuring small lightweight systems that can easily be carried into a battle zone.

In January, the Medical Corps began equipping combat battalions with compact battlefield respirators that can be used to resuscitate soldiers wounded in the field.

Until then, due to their weight and large size, respirators were not deployed on the front lines, but instead were reserved for medical teams at field hospitals in the rear.

In comparison to the brigade-level respirator, the new machine weighs 3.5 kg., can also be connected to a standardized gas-mask filter in the event of a chemical or biological attack, and comes with an eight-hour battery pack.


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