Evaluation Background: Multipurpose Ultrasound Examination Tables

September 14, 2022 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of multipurpose ultrasound exam tables, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and data describing ECRI member hospitals' interest in each vendor**.

Multipurpose ultrasound exam tables are used to improve the examination process and patient comfort during multiple types of imaging studies and ultrasound-guided interventional procedures. These tables have been available for more than a decade. They have features and accessories that are required or advantageous for performing cardiac, women's imaging (obstetrics and gynecology OB/GYN), vascular, and general-purpose ultrasound applications. Characteristics and features of these tables include:

  1. Height-adjustable table to allow scans to be performed by seated or standing clinicians, and to permit safe patient transfer on and off the table

  2. Ergonomic-related features such as movable panels or sections to improve the clinician's access to patient anatomy, and to reduce musculoskeletal stress and the likelihood of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs)

  3. Movable patient body supports to allow patients to be placed in required or advantageous positions, enhance patient comfort, and allow them to remain still during the exam

  4. Motorized and manual component positioning and height adjustment capability

Early models were developed to address the growing problem of sonographer WRMSDs (Coffin 2014). WRMSDs can affect the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and back, and are recognized as a serious occupational health problem for medical ultrasound users including sonographers and echocardiographers. WRMSDs were first reported in 1985 (Craig 1985) and affect 80% to 90% of ultrasound users (Evans et al. 2009). They represent a significant cost to employers: The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that WRMSDs have a significant financial impact on employers in both direct and indirect costs. These injuries may become more widespread as a result of the expanding use of point-of-care ultrasound in...

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