Fujifilm's point-of-care ultrasound solutions like the Sonosite PX can now be used to detect indications of COVID-19.

FDA clears Fujifilm Sonosite POCUS technology for detection of COVID-19 indications

September 09, 2020
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
The FDA has approved lung and cardiac imaging for signs of COVID-19 with the use of any product from FUJIFILM Sonosite’s POCUS portfolio.

Equipped with a range of transducers and accessories, Fujifilm’s point-of-care ultrasound solutions are designed to enhance physician time-to-diagnosis, patient outcomes, procedural efficiency and workflow. Among them are Sonosite PX, Sonosite SII, Sonosite Edge II, Sonosite X-Porte, Sonosite M-Turbo and Sonosite iViz.

"Point-of-care ultrasound is like a Swiss Army knife in healthcare, particularly for the critical patient, encompassing everything from the initial assessment to obtaining venous access with a peripheral IV or central line to rapidly initiate treatment, airway assessment, evaluation of the lung, and a full shock assessment," Dr. Diku Mandavia, senior vice president and chief medical officer of FUJIFILM Sonosite, told HCB News.

While a good test, CT is not as readily available and often requires transport of critically ill patients. Digital radiography can show many problems that are similar but not the same as signs of COVID-19 on a chest X-ray, and cannot accurately distinguish between the virus and other respiratory infections, such as the flu or pneumonia.

Ultrasound meanwhile can identify signs of COVID-19 at the point of care without having to transport an infectious patient out of isolation to a CT scanner. This saves on having to disinfect the scanner, which can take approximately one hour, according to the American College of Radiology, and is a comfort to COVID-19 patients, many of whom are hypoxic and can have trouble moving from one place to another.

POCUS offers a variety of benefits in its assessment of pulmonary and cardiovascular implications stemming from the virus, including:

● imaging and evaluating suspected lung complications to limit X-ray and CT scan use
● evaluating for lung improvement or worsening of COVID-19 diagnosed patients
● evaluating the need for advanced airway or mechanical ventilation
● assisting with ventilator and weaning strategies
● evaluating lung complications in COVID-19 patients that are in prone position

In addition, the later stages of COVID-19 in severe patients are often characterized by significant cardiac manifestations. With POCUS, clinicians can quickly diagnose and monitor these complications to keep the patient safe. It is for these reasons and the fact that chest X-rays can only identify signs of an infection that most medical societies advise against the sole use of a chest X-ray or CT scan to diagnose COVID-19.

Sonosite PX made its debut on the market this summer and comes with new proprietary imaging technology for advanced image clarity, as well as a new family of transducers that are drop tested to one meter and an adaptable work surface for closer access to bedsides.

Prior to Sonosite PX’s release, Fujifilm partnered with the Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF), a nonprofit founded by the American College of Emergency Physicians, on the EMF COVID-19 Research Grant program. Their aim is to conduct research that would provide knowledge for advancing emergency patient care, improving response of healthcare EMS systems, and protecting emergency medicine healthcare professionals during COVID-19 and future pandemics.

To accompany the FDA clearance of its POCUS portfolio, the company has released a comprehensive user guide that shows healthcare professionals how its POCUS technology can be used to correctly identify the most typical COVID-19 findings related to lung and cardiac conditions in ultrasound images.

With it, users can confirm that their selection of transducer, ultrasound system, exam type, and scan settings are appropriate for performing lung and cardiac ultrasound examinations; follow recommended protocols to properly place an ultrasound transducer on the patient in order to obtain optimal quality images; correctly interpret ultrasound images to recognize the most typical COVID-19 findings relating to lung and cardiac conditions; and review additional resources for healthcare professionals to learn of the most current COVID-19 information.

"Education is one of the core pillars on which FUJIFILM Sonosite was founded — no other ultrasound company is as dedicated to educating medical professionals and empowering their use point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS)," said Mandavia. "We work closely with physicians, nurses, and other clinical educators to produce specialty-specific educational POCUS content, and that practice held true with our COVID-19 resource center and our more than 30-page guide specifically covering the application of POCUS for COVID-19."