Sunday, September 23, 2007


This is a picture of an old product brochure from Boston Scientific that shows one of the ultrasound-equipped catheters that Hugh Tripp and I worked on. The artist put in a little umbrella shaped "scan" so you could imagine the area that the ultrasound beam, which was scanned in a circle, could visualize. The acoustic transducer, which is really just like a very small microphone with a narrow pattern, is spun using a special kind of wire that is wound sort of like a speedometer cable and a guitar string, but with a hole through the middle so you can add a very tiny coax cable that allows the signal from the transducer to get to the preamp. That black wire outside the catheter, except for the tip, is called a guidewire. Guidewires are used in many medical procedures in the same way as an electrician's snake, except of course much smaller and safer. But the idea is the same: find a hole in the body, or make a small one, insert the guidewire and under X-ray, get it to where the problem is, then leave it in place and slide other things, such as an ultrasound catheter, or some kind of cutter, or a drug delivery device, to the area once you've figured out what to do.

It sure beats cutting open the patient!

Not sure what you are reading about? Click on the image to zoom in and take a close look

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was me honking at you!