What are the benefits of using handheld ECHO (HHE) during the COVID-19 pandemic?

7th Jan 2021

Handheld ultrasound devices can deliver point-of-care cardiac assessment and have played a critical role in the COVID-19 era. 

The use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) continues to evolve across many specialties. It is widely used in intensive care units, accident and emergency departments, and cardiac arrest scenarios, allowing for a focused assessment in acute settings.

Point-of-care ultrasound is now being used by echocardiography departments and is rapidly becoming the first-line cardiac imaging tool for most in-patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, how are handheld echocardiography devices useful to clinicians during a pandemic?  

 

Using a handheld echocardiography device for patients with COVID-19

Although the COVID-19 clinical syndrome predominantly causes lung disease, cardiac manifestations have also been described. And poorer prognosis has been associated with cases where cardiac involvement has been observed. 

Handheld echocardiography (HHE) can be a valuable clinical tool for rapidly assessing the hemodynamic effects of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and guiding subsequent management of the COVID-19 clinical syndrome. 

 

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Benefits of using handheld ultrasound devices

Handheld ultrasound devices have unique advantages in the current COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Easier to use compared to conventional, full-sized echocardiogram machines 
  • Small and portable
  • Relatively low cost  
  • Easier to decontaminate

Multi-component illustration of handheld ultrasound device with arrows pointing to hand snapping fingers, portable device displaying echocardiogram, piggy bank, and spray bottle.

Figure 1. Handheld ultrasound (HHE) devices have unique advantages in the COVID-19 pandemic since they are easy to use, small and portable, relatively low cost, and easy to decontaminate. 

 

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Recommended reading

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