Trauma doctors have a saying: Time is blood. The quicker a physician can identify an injury or disease, the better the patient's chances of survival. Ultrasound can show doctors a patient's beating heart or blood flowing through a kidney, and now the Vscan, just a bit larger than a smartphone, puts the tool in every doctor's lab coat. As a doctor glides the sound-wave-generating transducer wand over the patient, circuitry inside it combines overlapping echoes into images of organs or real-time blood flow and displays them on a handheld screen.
The Vscan is already allowing emergency medics to assess internal injuries on the way to the hospital. And doctors can take a quick look at a person's heart murmur within minutes, rather than waiting hours or days for an appointment with an ultrasound technician. The Vscan could soon become as ubiquitous as the stethoscope.