So here is Part 4 of the as promised portable ultrasound reviews. The aim, to un-muddy the water a bit for you all over choice and functionality. There are so many put there at the moment, we wanted to test them on the shop floor…are they the true ITU workhorses you need to keep in your pocket?
All reviews are clearly done by myself, unless stated otherwise, so you could argue are very subjective. I can’t disagree…but I will try to be as un-biased as I can and start with an open mind on it all. I own my own GE Vscan DP device as a declaration, but I am not receiving any money / sponsorship or anything else financial from the kind companies who have agreed to allow me to review their devices. All devices in my possession for testing go back to them.
This part comes as a triad review from myself a good friend of mine, Mr Aidan Baron. @alittlemedic
…and my ITU colleague and fellow US enthusiast, Dr Dave Popple!
Introducing the iViz!
Please check out the Sonosite website for further information on the product
There are various probes available too…
What they say
iViz is a powerful diagnostic tool all within the palm of your hand. The SonoSite iViz was designed to go with you, where you need it. With the iViz in your pocket, you will be ready to tackle those tough clinical questions, whether it be at the bedside or in the field. iViz delivers this value by combining excellent imaging performance, ultra-mobility and ergonomic one-handed operation.
Check out the product brochure here
Other review Vids
What’s it like then – Hands on?
Sonosite came to the unit to deliver the iViz personally; they were a very professional and engaging bunch. Their marketing director had taken time out to visit, as well as their point of care representative and an apps specialist too.
They presented me with a smallish black pelican case, a satchel and smiles!
Inside the case was the iViz, 3 batteries and what they called ‘the toaster’! This was the battery charger, and the toast being the batteries you just slot in.
The satchel contained no less than 4 probes! All of the ones you see above.
They gave me a session on the ins and outs of the machine..and I was off, raring to get scanning with it and see what it could do!
The machine and the software
Its a wired device! Excellent, you all know how I feel about them Vs. wireless devices (which I am yet to be convinced are decent competitors). The boot up time once the power button is squeezed is well under 1 minute. Whichever probe you choose to plug in at the top is instantly recognised!
You select Scan from the initial 3 screen menus, and go!
It’s easy device to use…the main menu is located to the right / or left of the screen and consists of more or less a touchscreen jog-wheel style pop-up system. Touch gain and slide or adjust in increments, same for depth. If you move your finger to the central section or ‘hub’, resting your finger on the button for 2 seconds will allow you to switch between B and M-modes. Colour is of course there too. When you want to save an image still, simply click ‘save’. To keep a clip, hold ‘save’ down for a few seconds and you get a 2-6 second loop.
IVC & Cardiac
Instantaneous and clear! The phased array probe performs well. Although it is quite a long one! The machine allows M-mode and calculation of EF as well as other basic measurements. We did a basic EF and TAPSE.
The curvilinear probe is nice, but again, a little big if I’m pushed. Great images of most important intra-abdominal structures was possible, including a rather cereal full antrum!
What Aidan Says
I used the iViz for a year and a half in Australia a paramedic. I really like the machine, the images are fantastic! It is awesome for cardiac within a basic TTE. The high frequency linear probe is fantastic for ultrasound guided IV insertion. It was great for MSK and it’s great for regional blocks too. It’s also very lightweight.
Battery life is pretty good too, getting me through 2-3 fully comprehensive scans no worries. I guess it lasted about 25-30 minutes? But it comes with 3 batteries anyway, so that’s pretty good.
The cons for me are that I found it overheats really easily, so it failed a couple of times after 10-20 minutes, mid-way through some echoes I was doing in the hotter Australian climate. I found getting the images off the device a little tricky, because you have to email them to yourself and then get them off the computer…you can’t seem to do this from your phone, which would be so useful. All things considered, you can connect the device to WiFi and pretty much email the link to yourself to get the images off. I’m not the biggest fan of the grip; you do kind of fatigue your hand afterwards and the standish’t the best for going on tables. The probes, I guess, could be a little smaller, they can be quite large and unwieldy, causing a little bit of strain after a while due to the leverage? Finally, I wish you could re-jig the presets around a little, as they didn’t quite do the things I wanted in the order they are in.
This is a very small portable device. It’s robust and the battery life is reasonable. I like the grip, and it’s even good for ‘lefties’ as the screen rotates when you turn it. The ability to preform basic calculations is great, with colour and M-modes. I managed to do a basic EF on PLAX view. The menus are intuitive and the controls easy to navigate. I like the probes, quite small.
The negatives…the images are not as good as our large cart device (but that’s totally understandable and incomparable). The controls are a pain with gloves on…but that’s touchscreens for you I guess. An excellent device for portability, reviewing patients on the wards and more!
***used it again, and the images are better!! Must have been the patient the first time (excuses)!
- A wired device that will fit into larger scrubs pockets. You could easily take this device along to any ward with you and have it with you as you move from bed-to-bed. Taking all of the different probes along with you could be a little tricky though. But…perhaps have the linear and phased array at hand to cover many situations.
- This thing is allegedly very robust! Almost drop tested into oblivion…or not, as it is fairly unbreakable unless you want to roll your car over the screen!
Number of probes
- There are 4
- They are rather long and some have said a little cumbersome when pushed.
- Great range though, to perform all known US tasks!
Screen – dedicated or linked to tablet/phone
- The screen is very clear and is large enough.
- This is where these devices try to meet a difficult compromise. Screen size Vs portability / pocket’ability.
- The iViz finds the perfect balance on both. The screen size does however make it perhaps one for the larger scrubs pockets.
- The batteries charge very rapidly and you will get a good few scans out of this! 3 supplied, you’re off!
- Aidan mentioned it heating up; Dave and I didn’t have this problem…but maybe we scan faster than Aidan (but perhaps he is more thorough 😉 )
Interface logistics and ergonomics – touchscreen, user-friendly software
- All covered above really, but the menus are intuitive and the optimisation functions are really easy to operate.
- The touchscreen works very well, although a little awkward with gloves on.
- There is no detectable lag on fanning and switching between probes / screen types is instantaneous.
- To hold – occasionally a little awkward, but this doesn’t rely on telescopic fingers to operate the in-scan menus.
- Getting images off the machine can be cumbersome, a little too tricky sometimes. In order two get them off the device onto a USB to transfer to a storage facility / computer, one needs a special adapter. Once you have this, it’s simple. If not, you have the option for PACS, or their transfer platform known as Tricefy. Here, once signed up, you can transfer your images over WiFi too a cloud based storage system. It looks like you will be charged for this if you want to utilise this permanently. Aidan states you can email yourself the images / link to?? We couldn’t fathom this.
The iVIZ, all software, carry case and 2 probes (Cardiac and Abdominal)
Drop tested and covered by a 3 year warranty
From £14,125 + VAT. (The Abdominal probe is more expensive than the other probes. Should you require the Cardiac and Linear probe, as an alternative, the price will reduce to £13,275 + VAT)
The iVIZ, all software, carry case and the full set of 4 probes (Cardiac, Abdominal & 2 Linear options)
Drop tested and covered by a 3 year warranty
From £19,450 + VAT
- There is a 3 year warranty as above.
Phased array (Echo probe)
- Excellent images, slightly large
- Excellent images again!
Linear array probe
- Fabulous clear images of vessels and lung. Individual nerve fascicles identifiable with clarity! Brilliant for regional blocks and line insertion.
- Cloud storage available
- Tricefy is a little cumbersome
- USB transfer is possible and easy once you acquire the adapter
- The Sono Access app is brilliant, both as a learning resource and a demo / teaching resource too and is free!
Score and Conclusion
If I am pushed, the little stand at the back is a little pointless unless it could be adapted to work 360 degrees. At the moment, it biases right handed users. Touchscreen use whilst it’s on the stand is not really possible, so it would be for viewing only really. The probes are a little big in some cases. Price-wise, a little more than some competitors…but that’s how it is when there are 4 probes involved. The menus are intuitive and images are clear on all counts.
This is an excellent, well designed piece of kit that in my opinion, meets all portable device needs. Yes, its bigger than some of the other wireless competitors’ devices, but has the ultrasound kitchen sink built in. It packs a firm punch to competitors out there! Lets face it, it’s always good when you have to really think about negatives…says it all!
No complaints….but still fiddly sub-menus with gloves on. Can’t really see how they could make this any better! My mark 8/10
Overall, really like the device, its portable. It doesn’t fit inside a pocket and needs it’s own satchel. But all things considered, its up there with my top 2 pre-hospital and portable POCUS devices. I give it 8.5-9/10.