Wireless point-of-care ultrasound in a multiplace hyperbaric chamber
Background: Electronic devices remain highly restricted from use during hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) treatment due to risk of fire in a pressurized, oxygen-rich environment. Over recent decades, point-of- care ultrasound (POCUS) has established utility in most clinical environments except hyperbaric chambers, where only heavily modified POCUS devices have been used. This study evaluated proof of concept, safety, and performance of a wireless off-the-shelf handheld POCUS device in the hyperbaric environment.
Materials and Methods: The GE Vscan Air was initially tested in a Class C chamber with 100% nitrogen up to 4.0 ATA and monitored. Second, the Vscan Air was paired with an encased Apple iPad, tested previously for hyperbaric use, and both were pressurized to 2.4 ATA in a Class A chamber (21% oxygen) and evaluated. Similarly, it was then tested at 2.8 ATA and also paired wirelessly with an iPad outside the chamber. Device temperature, image quality, functionality, and wireless connection were tested continuously.
Results: The GE Vscan Air automatically shut off due to power button depression during initial compression; thus the power button was punctured with an 18-gauge needle to equalize gas pressure. Thereafter, the system performed well throughout all tests without degradation in function or image quality. The device did not overheat nor reach temperatures concerning for fire hazard. Further, wireless connection to out-of-chamber devices was maintained.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the GE Vscan Air can be used with minor modification in a multi- place hyperbaric chamber. Wireless functionality allows for pairing with a screen and device outside the chamber.
Keywords: hyperbaric chamber; POCUS; point-of-care; ultrasound