Ultrasound scans of the heart can be performed either superficially on the chest or through the esophagus with long ultrasound probes. However, esophageal examinations pose daily challenges for cardiologists, as the ultrasound probe easily shifts due to natural muscle activities in the esophagus.
To counteract the probe’s movements, the cardiologist must either manually hold it against the movements of the esophageal muscles or stop the work momentarily to reposition the probe. At the same time, the cardiologist has to control the computer with ultrasound images and handle the ultrasound transducer itself, which is controlled by two wheels. Therefore, the procedure requires three hands.
Therefore, the cardiologist often has to temporarily interrupt the procedure to reposition the probe, as image quality is crucial when the cardiologist navigates inside the heart. These interruptions extend the operation time and increase the risk of complications since patients are under general anesthesia. Furthermore, it leads to poor working postures and frustrating situations for the cardiologist, negatively affecting clinical work due to stress and an unsatisfactory working environment.
“It is important that the image is still, for example when inserting a clip, so that you do not see another part of the heart (…). It is important that the probe is locked so that we have the images we need when we insert the clips”
Carsten Tange Veien
Consultant cardiologist, dept. of Cardiology, Odense University Hospital
What is an esophageal examination of the heart?
An esophageal examination of the heart is used when the heart is not adequately visible in a regular ultrasound scan or when specific images of, for example, the heart valves are needed. Through the esophagus, the ultrasound probe comes very close to the heart.
What is a clipping procedure?
The heart is accessed through the blood vessels in the groin using small plastic tubes, allowing for the correction of leaky heart valves with clips. Precision in ultrasound scanning is crucial as the placement of the clips requires accuracy. There are also other procedures for heart valves that demand high-quality ultrasound scanning.
EchoVice solves this challenge by securing the ultrasound probe through the bite guard that the patient has already placed in the mouth, thus acting as the third hand for the cardiac surgeon. This prevents the displacement of the ultrasound probe during heart procedures and esophageal examinations, resulting in:
EchoVice is the only solution that is electronically controlled. The cardiac surgeon can operate the equipment from their normal working position, using the handle of the ultrasound probe, without having to interrupt their work. The device holds the ultrasound probe in the desired position while still allowing the cardiac surgeon to control it freely when necessary. It is the only equipment that allows the ultrasound probe to be rotated about its own axis while being fixed in place.
Making it easy to replace parts of the product, even during the operation, without affecting the overall functionality of the entire system.
The product is designed to be easy to operate without the need for complex instructions.
This provides the operator with flexibility to change the direction or angle of the probe while maintaining contact with the patient. This feature is particularly valuable as it gives doctors and technicians control over the quality and content of the images by adjusting the probe’s direction to focus on specific areas.
This tailored device ensures a comfortable and precise fit, crucial for many medical procedures where precision and comfort are essential for patient safety and treatment outcomes.
Q1: Start of the project2021
Q1: Applied for DK patent. Preflight Odense start.
Q2: EchoVice Aps was founded. Grant from Møllers fond
Q3: Grant from Mikrolegat
Q4: Grant from Beta Health. Grant from Alexander Foss' industrifond2022
Q2: Pre-clinical trial. Safety and usability
Q3: Danish patent ensured2023
Q2: International patent2024