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VirtaMed and ARMS to develop transvaginal ultrasound simulator

December 22, 2015

VirtaMed is excited to be once again working with Affiliates Risk Management Services; this time the companies have come together to create a virtual reality simulator for transvaginal ultrasound examination. The goal is to help physicians diagnose rare conditions during early pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy, a complication where the fetus grows outside the womb, is a difficult condition to detect early. Yet it can be extremely dangerous: ectopic pregnancy is the most common cause of death during the first trimester. Some 1-2% of all pregnancies are ectopic, and a transvaginal ultrasound is the best way to diagnose this complication.

The two most common ways for physicians to learn transvaginal ultrasound are didactic content and in-house training with real patients. While theoretical study material can introduce the trainee to a wide range of complications, it provides no practical experience on the procedure. And while real-life education is extremely helpful, most residents will simply by definition never encounter rare conditions during their studies.

Simulation training brings the best of both worlds: the virtual reality ultrasound, eventually a standard module for the PelvicSim™ simulator, gives doctors tools to learn a variety of rare complications, hands-on, in a safe environment. The transvaginal ultrasound simulator will feature authentic tools and several anatomies, and all the virtual ultrasound volumes will be based on real ultrasound images from actual patients.

In addition to giving physicians practice on ectopic pregnancy diagnosis, the transvaginal ultrasound simulator can be a useful tool in determining gestational age of a fetus.. A bread-and-butter procedure in all prenatal care, an accurate age estimate can be surprisingly difficult to make. We believe a standardized examination protocol, learned through simulation training, will establish more consistent and reliable results.

This transvaginal ultrasound project is a second phase in an ultrasound development collaboration between VirtaMed and an engineering team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich. The first part of the collaboration was the ASRM Embryo Transfer Module, developed together with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and unveiled in October 2015.

VirtaMed has previously worked together with Affiliates Risk Management Services to develop the VirtaMed PelvicSim™ simulator and the compatible simulation modules for intrauterine devices Mirena®, Liletta™ and Paragard®.