Astronauts, sports trainers use ultrasound

November 3, 2005

An ultrasound training program developed in Houston for non-physicians is giving astronauts and sports trainers a way to better assess injuries.

Researchers with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute say they've developed the computer-based training method to instruct non-physicians in operating ultrasound equipment as if they were technicians.

Crew members for four International Space Station missions have trained with the program and the ultrasound program also has been used by trainers with the Detroit Red Wings hockey team.

Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, a NSBRI researcher, said. "Our goal is to enable someone working in a remote environment to assess and manage an emergency medical condition."

In space, ultrasound can be used to assess a number of injuries such as trauma to the eye, shoulder or knee, tooth abscesses, broken or fractured bones, a collapsed lung, hemorrhaging, or muscle and bone atrophy, Dulchavsky said.

It normally takes 200 hours, plus yearly updates, to learn to operate ultrasound, but Dulchavsky and his team developed an education method that cuts the time to about three hours a year.

Dulchavsky also sees the ultrasound training method as beneficial to battlefield medics and emergency responders.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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