How You Can Use A Portable Ultrasound Machine To Help Diagnose Your Pregnant Patients With Zika

Zika is a disease that is mostly harmless in most people, but which causes severe birth defects or microcephaly in pregnant women. This problem causes children to be born with dangerously small heads and severe brain damage. As a doctor, you want to help your expecting mothers understand the dangers of this disease, and a portable ultrasound machine can help.

Signs Your Patient May Be Infected

If you have a pregnant patient come to you with the symptoms listed below, it's not presumptuous to be concerned about Zika. This diseases is a serious concern for pregnant women and must be detected as soon as possible:

  • Headache
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Pain in the joints

It is also important to avoid jumping to the conclusion that she has Zika just because she has these symptoms. Instead, you need to perform an ultrasound to check the development of her child. This typically serves as an early warning sign of Zika and microcephaly.

How An Ultrasound Can Help

If your patient shows signs of Zika infection, and has traveled through an area affected by the disease, an ultrasound is absolutely necessary. It can help detect symptoms of microcephaly and help the parents prepare for the birth of their child. It can be a heart-breaking realization, but it is one that has to be done for the sake of the mother.

Typically, microcephaly can be diagnosed as early as 18–20 weeks into the pregnancy. A more accurate diagnosis is more likely if it is performed closer to the child's birth, when other factors (including intracranial calcifications) can be considered. While not a fool-proof diagnosis method, an ultrasound can help give your patients a heads-up on the condition.

Why A Portable Ultrasound Machine Is So Useful For These Cases

While you could always use a full-sized ultrasound machine to diagnose this problematic condition, portable ultrasound machines come with a wide range of benefits, including the following:

  • The way it lets you diagnose a patient in the comfort of their home – very useful if she is feeling the negative effects of Zika
  • Quicker and more transparent diagnoses – your patient will more easily read the ultrasound machine, allowing you to point out evidence, or lack thereof, of Zika
  • Decreased diagnosis cost – portable ultrasound machines cost less than their full-size counterparts, making diagnosis cheaper for everyone
  • Gives your patients an immediate diagnosis – rather than waiting weeks to hear their child has Zika, your patients can know right away

Although no mother will be happy to hear that her child is suffering from this problem, it can at least give them the peace of mind that allows them to prepare for the problematic birth. Preparation is a very important part of ensuring that a birth affected by Zika is safe.

For more information about ultrasounds, talk to a professional.