3 years ago

Initial Experience Using a Telerobotic Ultrasound System for Adult Abdominal Sonography

The study sought to assess the feasibility of performing adult abdominal examinations using a telerobotic ultrasound system in which radiologists or sonographers can control fine movements of a transducer and all ultrasound settings from a remote location. Methods Eighteen patients prospectively underwent a conventional sonography examination (using EPIQ 5 [Philips] or LOGIQ E9 [GE Healthcare]) followed by a telerobotic sonography examination (using the MELODY System [AdEchoTech] and SonixTablet [BK Ultrasound]) according to a standardized abdominal imaging protocol. For telerobotic examinations, patients were scanned remotely by a sonographer 2.75 km away. Conventional examinations were read independently from telerobotic examinations. Image quality and acceptability to patients and sonographers was assessed. Results Ninety-two percent of organs visualized on conventional examinations were sufficiently visualized on telerobotic examinations. Five pathological findings were identified on both telerobotic and conventional examinations, 3 findings were identified using only conventional sonography, and 2 findings were identified using only telerobotic sonography. A paired sample t test showed no significant difference between the 2 modalities in measurements of the liver, spleen, and diameter of the proximal aorta; however, telerobotic assessments overestimated distal aorta and common bile duct diameters and underestimated kidney lengths (P values < .05). All patients responded that they would be willing to have another telerobotic examination. Conclusions A telerobotic ultrasound system is feasible for performing abdominal ultrasound examinations at a distant location with minimal training and setup requirements and a moderate learning curve. Telerobotic sonography (robotic telesonography) may open up the possibility of remote ultrasound clinics for communities that lack skilled sonographers and radiologists, thereby improving access to care.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0846537116301085

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