Portable C-scan Ultrasound for Rapid Vascular Access

Period of Performance: 06/01/2006 - 09/30/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

941 Glenwood Station Lane
Leesburg, VA 20176
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this research and development is to save lives and improve quality of care of people requiring vascular access by enabling quicker access and minimizing failed attempts. Achieving rapid vascular access is critical in many cases where rapid administration of IV fluids or medications can alter patient outcomes. This Phase I proposal seeks funding to support the development of a low-cost (<$2,000 per unit), easy to use, and highly portable C-Scan ultrasonic imaging system called the Sonic Window. This system will be comparable in size to a mobile phone or PDA and is designed to meet the needs of users with no experience in medical imaging at a fraction of the cost of currently available portable ultrasound systems. The C-scan format combined with the compact display integrated at the transducer allows the user to see the image in the perspective that would be obtained if you had a clear 'window' through the skin into the tissue or vessel of interest. The Sonic Window is being realized by combining a low profile 2D array, custom integrated circuits, novel beamforming and image processing algorithms implemented on a commercial Digital Signal Processor and a LCD display. Innovative technological approaches are employed to circumvent conventional engineering wisdom that holds that C-Scan (image plane parallel to skin surface) imaging is inherently more complex and costly than B-Scan imaging (plane perpendicular to skin surface). The specific aim of this Phase I research is to test the hypothesis that the C-scan image format and the display integrated with the transducer will make it easier and faster for novice ultrasound users to perform ultrasound-guided vascular access procedures. This hypothesis will be tested using a study with an inanimate ultrasound model in which paramedics use the Sonic Window system for guiding rapid peripheral IV access. These procedures will be compared directly to those guided by a state-of-the-art commercial B- Scan portable ultrasound system designed for vascular access applications. Paramedics are chosen for this study because they do not have significant prior exposure to the use of ultrasound but are trained in obtaining peripheral IV catheterization. Before this study can begin, we will complete integration of the prototype Sonic Window system and perform system validation and optimization. A positive conclusion from this study, demonstrating that this prototype is faster and easier to use, will provide increased confidence in the commercial feasibility for the Sonic Window product. In future stages of development, we will extend this work to include human studies as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of the Sonic Window for guiding more complicated access procedures such as central line insertions. This research is a collaborative effort between PocketSonics, Inc. and the University of Virginia Departments of Biomedical Eng. and Electrical and Computer Eng.