Hospital physios one of the first to use new high-tech equipment

Simon Hayward performs lung ultrasound on heart patient Derek Foulds
Simon Hayward performs lung ultrasound on heart patient Derek Foulds

Physiotherapists at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have become one of the first in the country to use an ‘innovative’ new technique.

Staff in intensive care have been using an ultrasound machine to examine people’s lungs and give more accurate diagnoses than a traditional X-ray would.

The move has seen patients getting better care, and out of the intensive care unit (ICU) faster, hospital bosses say.

Simon Hayward, who has been at the forefront of the programme, said: “Once I saw the detail the machine could give, and how it could distinguish between pathologies much more accurately, I was hooked.

“The use of lung ultrasound in physiotherapy is innovative within the NHS, and we are being asked to give talks to introduce the system and concept to physiotherapists up and down the country.”

By using the machine, physios are able to get more specific information to help with diagnoses, he added.

“On a chest X-ray, a lot of fluid and tissue looks white, but with lung ultrasound you can differentiate between fluids and tissues and even between different types of fluids and tissues.

“That’s where the advantage comes in. We have had a few instances where this equipment has made a big difference to patients.

“It changed the diagnosis of one, who had been deteriorating rapidly. The ultrasound showed excess fluid around the lung, which was then drained, allowing him to be taken off a ventilator within a day.”

Staff are currently being trained to use the equipment, and have had offers to explain the procedure to colleagues from Bournemouth to Newcastle. They are also speaking at the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care Conference.

“I believe we could be the first in the country using this technique,” Simon added.