Ultrasound used to ease pain

Delegate Dr Christine Lo taking part in the training, supported by Dr Aamir Nazir. The volunteer 'patient' is Russell Turner.

Delegate Dr Christine Lo taking part in the training, supported by Dr Aamir Nazir. The volunteer 'patient' is Russell Turner.

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It is most commonly associated with pregnancy – but consultants at Dewsbury and District Hospital have pioneered a new way of using ultrasound by devising an innovative training course.

Doctors have come up with a new way to make lumbar puncture, the inserting of a needle into the spinal canal to collect fluid, easier and more comfortable for doctor and patient.

The procedure usually means doctors need to feel their way along the spine to find the right place to insert the needle.

But in some cases, for example in patients with some spinal conditions or those who are obese, this can prove challenging, even for the most experienced practitioners.

Now Dewsbury hospital staff have become the first in the UK to train doctors to use ultrasound to carry out the technique after developing Sonography Assisted Lumbar Puncture Training (SALT).

Those involved are Dr Anupama Sharma, consultant anaesthetist and course director and Dr Asoka Weerasinghe, education lead for point of care training at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Sharma said: “The use of ultrasound provides a quick and radiation free way to help doctors to perform this procedure. It allows the doctor to scan the patient’s back in detail and to select the most appropriate and accessible point to insert the needle.”

The equipment used is available at most hospitals.