In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need for widely available diagnostic methods that can be used to rapidly and noninvasively detect lung disease and stratify its severity at the point of care. Although ultrasound equipment is frequently available, a limited number of medical professionals are skilled in performing lung ultrasonography. Emergency departments, intensive care units and many hospital wards could benefit from widely available training in this procedure to assess the condition of a patient’s lungs.
This project provides an interactive web-based simulator of lung ultrasonography, for use in training medical personnel in how to perform the procedure. The simulator allows learners to use the computer mouse to move a virtual ultrasound probe over the entire thorax of a 3D virtual patient. The user will see a view of the virtual patient as well as a simulated ultrasonography screen, showing images based on the current position of the probe. Learners can see the virtual patient’s pleural line, sliding lung, consolidations, artifacts and shadows caused by the ribs. There will be several training scenarios, showing normal and abnormal patients with differing severity of lung disease. The training will contain a theoretical introduction, followed by a practical tutorial. The probe will move automatically, showing abnormalities with explanations. Then, the trainee will move the probe freely, reviewing several cases. There are exercises and tests, to challenge learners and help them build their skills.
This project permits wide-scale training to improve the capacity of hospital staff in performing lung ultrasonography, which can assist in earlier diagnosis of lung pathology in patients, leading to earlier diagnosis of those who may have COVID-19. Lung ultrasonography can also be used to track the severity of a COVID-19 patient’s condition, so that doctors can be aware of the likelihood of respiratory failure, or the beginning of the healing process.
EIT Health Partner