New Hand-carried Sonography Equipment Boosts UAMS Distance Learning

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – New  hand-carried sonography machines donated to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) that are one-tenth the size of their refrigerator-sized predecessors provide greater capabilities and allow instructors at UAMS to better teach students.


Instructors in the UAMS College of Health Related Professions program illustrated in demonstrations today how the laptop computer-sized tool, the TITANÔ system, will give students in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program hands-on experience in pinpointing potentially life-threatening conditions in patients.


UAMS uses similar SonoSite systems throughout its clinics to bring high-quality imaging to the patient, rather than having to transport the patient to the imaging lab. These machines bring the benefits of real-time ultrasound visualization and guidance for procedures to patients in areas such as the emergency room, radiology, cath labs and the breast clinic.


The demonstration showed scans being conducted by three new machines UAMS has at its Little Rock campus and at its Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Northwest in Fayetteville and AHEC Southwest in Texarkana. Students observed sonogram images of the heart, liver, gall bladder and the carotid artery, one of two main arteries that supply blood to the head.


SonoSite, Inc., a Washington-based maker of hand-carried ultrasound equipment, donated two of the new machines to UAMS after the university purchased one for its diagnostic medical sonography program. The donation was valued at almost $100,000.


“We very much appreciate SonoSite’s gift, which will allow our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program to focus on providing the best quality educational experience for its students,” said UAMS College of Health Related Professions Dean Ronald Winters, Ph.D. “The portable sonography equipment also bolsters the effectiveness of distance education in graduating more sonographers in Arkansas to meet health care work force needs.”


The new machines will help the DMS program, conducted in part via interactive video lectures with students and instructors at all three locations, through improved convenience and easier integration of ultrasound images into lectures.


“UAMS is widely recognized as a leader in providing advanced, high-quality medical care,” said Bradley G. Garrett, SonoSite Chief Operating Officer. “We are pleased to partner with them in the education of future generations of sonographers.”


Terry DuBose, director of the DMS program at UAMS, said, “Sonography is one of the most operator dependent medical procedures because of the skills required to produce the most useful images for diagnosis. So there is no substitute for demonstrations in a setting where the student – no matter where in the state they are – can ask questions and observe the results.”


A sonogram is a non-invasive technique that uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to produce diagnostic images of the body’s internal organs and structures. The diagnostic medical sonographer assists the physician in gathering anatomical, physiological, and/or pathological sonographic data and images to diagnose or assess a variety of conditions and diseases.


In a hospital or clinic setting, a sonogram of the heart, called an echocardiogram, can be used to diagnose heart disease or other abnormalities. Vascular sonography of the carotid arteries can be used to find vascular disease such as arteriosclerosis or obstructions in blood vessels.


Liver and gall bladder sonograms can be used for diagnosing gall stones or pancreatic cancer. Another well-known use of sonography is during pregnancy to track development of the fetus.


In addition to being portable, the new sonography devices can provide images to be downloaded and incorporated into lectures, DuBose said. Previously, the sonography machines used in the program were the size of refrigerators and did not offer the same connectivity.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year. UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.


SonoSite, Inc. ( is the innovator and world leader in hand-carried ultrasound, with an installed base of more than 20,000 systems. The company, headquartered near Seattle, is represented by eight subsidiaries and a global distribution network in more than 75 countries.