High-frequency transducers for point-of-care ultrasound applications: what is the optimal frequency range?
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To compare images obtained using two linear transducers with a different range of frequencies, and to determine if there is a significant difference in the quality of images between the two transducers for medical decision-making. This was a single-blinded, cross-sectional study at an academic medical center. Twenty-five emergency medicine clinical scenarios with ultrasound images (using both 10–5 and 14–5 MHz transducers) covering a variety of point-of-care ultrasound applications were presented to four emergency physician sonographers. They were blinded to the study hypothesis and type of the transducer used to obtain the images. On a scale of 1–10, the mean image quality rating for 10–5 MHz transducer was 7.09 (95 % CI 6.73–7.45) and 6.49 (95 % CI 5.99–6.99) for 14–5 MHz transducer. In the majority of cases (84 %, 95 % CI 75.7–92.3 %), sonographers indicated that images obtained with a 10–5 MHz transducer were satisfactory for medical decision-making. They preferred images obtained with a 10–5 MHz transducer over 14–5 MHz transducer in 39 % (95 % CI 30–50 %) of cases. The images obtained with a 14–5 MHz transducer were preferred over 10–5 MHz transducer in only 16 % (95 % CI 7.7–24.3 %) of the cases. The 14–5 MHz transducer has a slight advantage over 10–5 MHz transducer for ocular, upper airway, and musculoskeletal (tendon) ultrasound applications. A 10–5 MHz linear transducer is adequate to obtain images that can be used for medical decision-making for a variety of point-of-care ultrasound applications.
KeywordsPortable ultrasound Emergency physician Point-of-care ultrasound Linear transducer
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