Saturday, October 6, 2012

Retrospective Part Four

Saturday morning.  5 AM.  Coffee and memories.  My supervisor L.C. came to me one morning and asked me if I wanted to look at a heart on an ultrasound machine.  I told him I was trying to find gall bladders on a B-Scanner.  We laughed like pirates because he knew what I was dealing with.

I said we can see the heart with ultrasound now?

He said he did not know, but a new machine was on the second floor.  I made my way up the east stair well where many cardiologists smoked ciggies to find a great friend of mine who is now married to a prominent cardiologist. I saw her amidst  a machine and packing boxes all about the floor.  She asked me "what are all these paper rolls?" 

I said  "let's read the instructions".

Turned out the machine was better than Keith Emerson's monster moog. Well not quite.  I still loved my Johnson and Johnson B scanner.

 The piezo electric crystal is directed into the chest cavity and the ultrasound makes an image which is stored to thermal paper.  I thought  WOW!  This is the late 70's ok?  Everything is cool.
this was before the LED, (light emitting diode).

Turns out the pink paper was thermal paper used to identify and semi-quantify heart motion on the new Irex ultrasound machine we had purchased.  I was in the game. We purchased a Cardiologist to come up and look at the new machine.  He was not impressed.  Soon, I read up on mitral valve motion, aortic valve leaflets and left atrial measurements, and the bugger of all echocardiographers; RV/LV measurements.  Yes.


RV/LV measurements which are still a hassle even with anatomical correction offered by a few ultrasound machine companies.

Back in those days it was easy to bribe a cardiologist or radiologist to read the M-Mode echos.  I learned quick that accurate measurements were essential to good cardiac management of the patient  with a heart problem.

Please note:  M-Mode echocardiography was an essential learning step for me.  I think I would have freaked out if I saw a living heart on a 2-D machine at that point in my life.  My students know this point very well.

Next:  2-D ultrasound  Please subscribe.  I make NO money on my blog.  Yet.
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