Cincinnati Children's Blog

Pediatric Ultrasound is now “Pocket-Sized!” Sometimes, one has to be like “McGyver” when imaging patients in third world countries!

Pediatric Ultrasound is now “Pocket-Sized!” Sometimes, one has to be like “McGyver” when imaging patients in third world countries!

In November of 2019, I once again had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania with the Colorectal Surgical Team from here at Cincinnati Children’s. My role was to perform ultrasound, x-ray, and contrast radiology procedures on patients who have abnormalities of the large intestine and rectum before their special surgery needed to fix the abnormalities.

Photo: Using an ultrasound transducer connected to a small tablet

Photo: In the ICU unit using the new tablet with a normal transducer

This year I was fortunate enough to have one of the ultrasound manufacturers lend me one of their new ultrasound tools that allows one to connect the ultrasound transducer directly to a small tablet instead of a large laptop or large US machine. These larger machines are very difficult to bring up to the patient floor or the emergency department in some of the remote hospitals we travel to in Africa. The ultrasound probe is the same one that is placed on the skin here in our Radiology Department, but instead of the large machine used here to view the inside of the body, the probe is attached to this small computer tablet for viewing. The images are spectacular and very similar to those produced through our large machines at Cincinnati Children’s.The real advantage is that I can bring this tablet to the patient in Tanzania anywhere inside or outside the hospital without electricity since the probe and tablet run on battery power. The images can be used to help manage the patient for the best outcomes possible at the time of the surgery. 

Photo: Example of a normal size Ultrasound machine

Photo: Example of an X-ray C-Arm encircling an exam bed, from below

Also during the same trip, the x-ray unit for getting radiology pictures by real-time x-ray, the fluoroscopy unit, was broken! This required thinking outside the box to get these studies done. So we rigged a portable “C-arm” x-ray machine in one of the operating rooms to get these studies done portably so the patients who came from all over the Tanzania region could get their radiology studies prior to their surgery. We even had to take photos of the images for the surgeons on our iPhones to record the results! McGyver would have been proud! 

Dr. Steven Kraus, author; Glenn Miñano, BFA, editor; Meredith Towbin, copyeditor

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