Over-the-phone transmission of diagnostic-quality ultrasound images is possible, potentially paving the way for ultrasound examinations to be performed in poorer areas of the world, inexpensively transmitted via the Internet, and read by experienced radiologists elsewhere, a new Dartmouth Medical School study shows.
The study was prompted in part by Veljko Popov, an MD/PhD student at Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) who wanted to help the people in his homeland of Yugoslavia. Using a grant from the Dartmouth International Health Group, Popov and Robert Harris, MD, associate professor of radiology at DMS, visited patients at a remote hospital in Yugoslavia. They used a portable, compact ultrasound unit, donated by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, to examine several hundred patients but the hospital had no resources to read the ultrasound scans. "Once they had the equipment, they needed an inexpensive way for the images to be read," said Harris.
"We conducted a pilot study in which 50 thyroid, abdominal, pelvic and transvaginal images were transmitted from Yugoslavia to the U.S. to determine if real-time, low-cost tele-ultrasound was feasible," said Popov. Real-time images were compressed to help speed the file transfer and these images were then compared to the original non-compressed images.
Andrew Nordhoff | EurekAlert!
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