Comparison of four handheld point-of-care ultrasound devices by expert users



Abstract Background Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is rapidly becoming ubiquitous across healthcare specialties. This is due to several factors including its portability, immediacy of results to guide clinical decision-making, and lack of radiation exposure to patients. The recent growth of handheld ultrasound devices has improved access to ultrasound for many clinicians. Few studies have directly compared different handheld ultrasound devices among themselves or to cart-based ultrasound machines. We conducted a prospective observational study comparing four common handheld ultrasound devices for ease of use, image quality, and overall satisfaction. Twenty-four POCUS experts utilized four handheld devices (Butterfly iQ+™ by Butterfly Network Inc., Kosmos™ by EchoNous, Vscan Air™ by General Electric, and Lumify™ by Philips Healthcare) to obtain three ultrasound views on the same standardized patients using high- and low-frequency probes. Results Data were collected from 24 POCUS experts using all 4 handheld devices. No single ultrasound device was superior in all categories. For overall ease of use, the Vscan Air™ was rated highest, followed by the Lumify™. For overall image quality, Lumify™ was rated highest, followed by Kosmos™. The Lumify™ device was rated highest for overall satisfaction, while the Vscan Air™ was rated as the most likely to be purchased personally and carried in one’s coat pocket. The top 5 characteristics of handheld ultrasound devices rated as being “very important” were image quality, ease of use, portability, total costs, and availability of different probes. Conclusions In a comparison of four common handheld ultrasound devices in the United States, no single handheld ultrasound device was perceived to have all desired characteristics. POCUS experts rated the Lumify™ highest for image quality and Vscan Air™ highest for ease of use. Overall satisfaction was highest with the Lumify™ device, while the most likely to be purchased as a pocket device was the Vscan Air™. Image quality was felt to be the most important characteristic in evaluating handheld ultrasound devices.
Date made available2022

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