Alastair Royse and Richard Wynne
28 October 2019
News Category: 

A new light-weight portable ultrasound device is now being used at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH).

The ultrasound connects with your smartphone so staff can use the device anywhere in the hospital.

The new approach is to create ultrasound waves using a mini disc situated on a computer chip. This allows a much larger range of frequencies (only need one probe), requires much less energy to power to create ultrasound and is much cheaper to produce (like producing a computer chip).

Professor Alistair Royse, RMH cardiothoracic surgeon and University of Melbourne Medical School acting head of surgery, said the fact it connects with your phone is revolutionary in communicating between teams and departments around the hospital.

“It takes very little effort to carry the device around with you and it can be used in multiple ways, including for the lungs to look for fluid in the chest or lung collapse, as a heart ultrasound, for investigating clots in the leg, or to help guide placement of a needle into an artery or vein by imaging the passage of the needle through the tissues in real-time” Prof Royse said.

Prof Royse using the new Butterfly ultrasound device on a patient
Prof Royse using the new Butterfly ultrasound device on a patient

Instead of relying on a doctor or nurses’ ear for evaluation the technology uses ultrasound, and a smartphone app to help detects leaks, murmurs, abnormal rhythms and other problems in the heart, lungs and elsewhere.

“I think this will eventually see the death of the stethoscope,” Prof Royse said.

Adam Bonser Nurse Unit Manager of 6SE said the device has huge potential at improving patient outcomes through more accurate readings.

“This is a game changer for our staff and the hospital, patients find it much less invasive and it’s a great way to monitor patients,” Adam said.

Two Butterfly iQ devices were purchased by the RMH Foundation using funds personally donated by Richard Wynne MP.

Mr Wynne was a patient at the RMH five years ago following a heart attack.

“I was delighted to support this new technology, this is the future of medicine, particularly in regional areas which might not have access to these devices.”

“I am incredibly thankful to the hospital for the care I received during my stay,” Mr Wynne said.

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