Five Ultrasound AI Uses in Healthcare Today

Today's ultrasound equipment has become more affordable and portable than previous generations of sonographic imaging and diagnostic technology. With handheld point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) devices, ultrasound technology is growing more accessible to healthcare professionals and their patients worldwide. Exciting new advancements in ultrasound AI are further revolutionizing the industry. Nearly 80% of Exo’s 2023 POCUS Survey Report respondents believe ultrasound AI will positively impact POCUS by making ultrasound easier to learn and images more accessible to interpret. Considered still in its early stages, many potential ultrasound AI uses have been identified. However, the number of applications successfully employed in clinical settings now and in the near future is more limited. Some noteworthy uses of ultrasound AI include bladder, cardiac, lung and thyroid assessments and infant hip dysplasia detection.

1. Bladder Volume Measurement

AI-enhanced ultrasound empowers healthcare professionals to measure patients’ bladder volume consistently and accurately within seconds. The AI can identify the bladder’s shape and how much volume it has within it.

Ultrasound AI can be instrumental in managing patients with urinary retention problems, monitoring urinary patients and evaluating chronic conditions like bladder dysfunction.

Automated ultrasound AI saves healthcare professionals significant time compared to manual calculations. Furthermore, avoiding catheterization reduces the risk of urinary tract infections or other complications, improving patient outcomes.

2. Cardiac Assessments

By accurately and automatically identifying and quantifying vital volumetric parameters, ultrasound AI can offer healthcare providers reliable estimates of patients’ cardiac function. The technology can calculate ejection fraction, measure left ventricular chamber sizes, and other insights during cardiac ultrasound exams.

AI-driven ultrasound is valuable for rapid cardiac evaluations to diagnose acute conditions like severe heart failure. It can deliver efficiencies in routine cardiac check-ups and aid in the early detection of cardiac toxicity in patients on certain medications or undergoing chemotherapy.

Automating routine tasks, which traditionally take considerable time, ultrasound AI allows cardiologists to focus more on patient care and less on time-consuming manual measurements.

3. Lung Assessments

Ultrasound with AI technology can help enhance lung imaging capabilities, helping to enable efficient and accurate diagnoses for various respiratory conditions. AI provides insights for decision support to clinicians by highlighting areas of concern and suggesting insights for potential diagnoses.

Ultrasound AI can help detect abnormalities such as consolidations, pleural effusions and other signs of pneumonia. AI technology can also assist physicians in recognizing pulmonary edema, pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and COVID-19.

Non-invasive and radiation-free, ultrasound with AI could help to provide a better patient experience, faster results, and insights for a more accurate diagnosis.

4. Infant Hip Dysplasia Detection

One of every 100 infants is born with hip dysplasia, the leading cause of early onset hip arthritis if left undetected. A quick ultrasound scan can identify abnormalities in the anatomy of a baby’s hip joints, such as shallow hip sockets, improper positioning of the femoral head or other signs of hip instability.

AI algorithms automatically calculate critical angles and metrics, such as the alpha and beta angles used in the Graf method for hip dysplasia assessment. This automation reduces the possibility of human error in manual calculations and speeds up the diagnostic process.

Improved accuracy and early detection facilitated by AI can lead to more effective interventions, reducing the need for invasive surgical treatments and improving long-term outcomes for children born with hip dysplasia.

5. Thyroid Assessment

Ultrasound AI technology streamlines the consistent interpretation of thyroid scans, reducing the time required for analysis from half an hour or longer to just a handful of minutes. Ultrasound AI algorithms can aid in identifying subtle, small or deep tissue abnormalities that may indicate the presence of thyroid nodules. Automatically flagging areas for further manual evaluation ensures no potential nodules are overlooked.
Going beyond detection, ultrasound AI can assist in analyzing nodule characteristics, such as size, shape, margins, echogenicity and vascularity, to help stratify risk and assess the likelihood of malignancy.

Clinicians can make quicker diagnostic decisions during a patient’s visit, reducing the need for follow-up appointments and additional tests, resulting in cost savings for both patients and the healthcare system.

Ultrasound AI with Exo

Exo believes in the future’s limitless potential for ultrasound AI and its ability to lower the barrier of entry and bring the benefits of ultrasound to as many patients as possible. For seasoned experts and new learners alike, Exo AI does the heavy lifting to help achieve reliable imaging and accurate diagnoses.

Exo AI aims to empower healthcare professionals, not replace them. Our AI tools assist when needed, but the clinicians remain in control. Exo maintains the belief that all medical AI must be held to the highest standards of accuracy, rigorously trained and cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as software as a medical device (SaMD).

Learn more about the exciting possibilities of ultrasound AI and read Exo’s full AI manifesto at our Exo AI webpage. To see Exo’s ultrasound AI in action with the Exo Iris™, view a virtual demo or schedule your personal live experience with our team today.