Gel Contamination

On April 18 the FDA released an alert regarding Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel, manufactured by Pharmaceutical Innovations Inc. The ultrasound gel was found to be contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella oxytoca.

According to the FDA Press Announcement,

U.S. Marshals, acting at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, have seized Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel located at Pharmaceutical Innovations Inc. in Newark, N.J., after an FDA analysis found that product samples contained dangerous bacteria. The seizure included all lots of the gel product manufactured between June 2011 and December 2011….The FDA received a report involving 16 surgical patients infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The patients had transesophageal ultrasound procedures, while undergoing heart valve replacement, using Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel.

Yes, that first line said “U.S. Marshals.” The FDA does not mess around. So take a minute and check your gel! Maybe a good time to wipe the whole machine down while you are at it.

Ponte Vedra Ultrasound Course 2012

We are pleased to present our annual critical care ultrasound pre-conference course at the Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine symposium in Ponte Vedra, Florida on Wednesday, June 20. Each year this intensive, hands on course features ultrasound faculty from across the country working in small groups with live models and plenty of hands-on scanning time.

The course is held at the beautiful and historic Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

Please visit here for Registration information

Highlights of the four-hour course include:

  1. Cardiac ultrasound
  2. Thoracic ultrasound
  3. Ultrasound for venous access
  4. Assessment of the hypotensive patient

Faculty for this year’s course include:

  • Bret Nelson, MD, RDMS (course director)
  • Petra Duran, MD
  • Joseph Wood, MD, JD, RDMS


Emergency physician, intensivist, and Mount Sinai Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship graduate Dr. Robert Arntfield is making news at his new home, London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Arntfield and his department have set up a hardware and software infrastructure for bedside ultrasound which allows for electronic data storage and retrieval, robust QA, teaching and research.

LHSC’s website has this to say:

Dr. Rob Arntfield, an ED physician and intensivist at LHSC, recently completed a year-long fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, learning and integrating cutting edge point-of-care ultrasound applications into the care of the critically ill patient. Since his return to LHSC, Arntfield has been working with Dr. Drew Thompson, also an LHSC ED physician, to develop new quality assurance training standards to enhance residents’ knowledge and use of this important patient care technology

Check out the website!

Ovarian Torsion

Although we tend to suspect torsion only in cases where there is ovarian enlargement, cyst, etc., there are a number of studies that show these are not reliable (sensitive or specific) indicators of torsion. Radiology reports often seem to hedge and note that ovarian torsion is a clinical diagnosis because the test characteristics of ultrasound are not that great even when you include flow, adnexal size, free fluid, and other factors in combination.

Children (<15 years old) are at greater risk of torsing normal ovaries (up to 50% of torsion cases), but even in women of childbearing age 8-19% of cases are associated with normal ovaries. Doppler flow has demonstrated great sensitivity and specificity for torsion by some authors but was much less valuable in this retrospective study.

In this recent study, abnormal ovarian location, abnormal flow and free fluid were the best predictors of torsion; ovarian mass or cyst actually didn’t help rule in or out the diagnosis.

Bottom line: normal ovaries do not rule out torsion. Doppler flow may not be sensitive or specific enough either. So use (dare we say it?) clinical judgement.

2012 Ultrasound CME conference

The Mount Sinai Department of Emergency Medicine hosted its annual ultrasound CME conference held on March 22 at the Stern Auditorium.

Faculty, fellows and PAs from a number of institutions took part in our eighth annual conference.

The course was directed by Bret Nelson, MD and topics included ultrasound physics (Leila PoSaw, MD, MPH) and assessment of  airway and breathing (Jim Tsung, MD, MPH), circulation (Daniel Singer, MD), disability/trauma (Phil Andrus, MD) and procedure guidance (Danny Duque, MD).

Great lectures by Sinai’s Emergency Ultrasound faculty were followed by an intensive hands-on scanning session.

Ultrasound First

The AIUM recently announced a initiative to increase awareness of ultrasound as the first imaging modality to be considered when radiation exposure and cost are factors.  If you are a fan of the Image Gently campaign from the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging, you’ll like this ultrasound-centric vision even more. More information below, including the AIUM’s press release.

Continue reading “Ultrasound First”

Low Frequency US

April 1, 2012:

Researchers presented exciting new data on the use of extremely low-frequency ultrasound for the bedside diagnosis of a wide range of pathology.

“We’re very excited by the technique,” remarked Bret Nelson as he described a method he has used for many years. With conventional ultrasound, sound waves above the range of human hearing transmitted from a transducer into the patient. These waves are then reflected back to the transducer, creating an image on the ultrasound screen.

“By using sound waves within the range of human hearing, we have been able to create an image directly into the mind of the operator. This obviates the need for special equipment, and does not require the use of gel.” Dr. Nelson demonstrated the technique:

“So what brings you here today?” At this point, sound waves were transmitted from Dr. Nelson into the patient.

“I’m having an allergic reaction.” New sound waves were then transferred from the patient to Dr. Nelson.

“Why do you say that?” The cycle repeats with a new pulse.

“I’m allergic to shrimp, and I ate some shrimp, and now I have a rash.”

“I agree. You seem to be having an allergic reaction.” Diagnosis confirmed! Now treatment can begin.

The research team warned that this technique is quite operator dependent, and can often involve multiple cycles before the diagnosis is confirmed. But they hope that someday this technique can augment information gained from traditional ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI.