London hospital tests handheld ultrasound scanner

Vscan handheld ultrasound scanner launched

By Fergus Walsh
Medical correspondent, BBC News

An ultrasound scanner the size of a large mobile phone has been launched in Europe and North America.

The Vscan can be used to image the heart and other organs.

Developer GE Healthcare says the portable device, priced at about £5,000 in the UK, is not designed to replace existing machines.

But it may offer rapid early diagnosis to triage patients in hospitals and the community who would then be referred for more specialist examination.

‘Not sci-fi’

It looks like a cross between a flip-top phone and the medical scanner used by Dr McCoy in the TV series Star Trek.

The Vscan is not science fiction but a hand-held ultrasound machine with a scanning wand attached, which has been approved for use in Europe and North America.

The device is being used in the cardiac investigation unit at St George’s Hospital in south London.

The moving colour images show blood flow around the heart and by switching to black and white you can see heart valves opening and closing.

Click the link to find out more about the handheld ultrasound scanner

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