Of the approximately 75 million American adults with hypertension, millions of patients visit their doctors yearly to monitor and control their blood pressure, yet only about half of them have their condition under control. Since high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, chronic heart failure, and kidney disease, accurately measuring and tracking a patient’s blood pressure is a vital part of triage and any office consultation.
Testing blood pressure is a two part process, resulting in two numerical measurements - the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures. The systolic indicates how much pressure your blood exerts against the artery walls during heartbeats. The diastolic number indicates the minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilation of the ventricles of the heart. To perform the test, a reading is taken by placing a pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer), typically on the upper arm, which is then inflated either manually or electronically.
Commonly known as probes, ultrasound transducers come in a wide array of shapes and sizes designed for specific diagnostic applications. Here are some descriptions of the probes commonly found in hospital, clinical, and medical practice settings:
There is the cardiac transducer, whose primary use is echocardiography. In some cases, because the frequency is low, it can used for abdominal studies as well. Next, there is a vascular transducer, which is typically used for carotid arteries and veins, including those in the legs. It can also be used for the thyroid, needle-guided injections, and in some cases, when the frequency is high enough, for breast exams as well. (It is important to note that when using it for breast exams, it should not take the place of conventional mammography, but rather be used in conjunction with it.)
The standard equipment for a medical setting depends on the size of the facility. A large hospital will have much wider ranging needs than a small hospital. Ultrasound machines, ECG / EKG machines, patient monitors, infusion pumps, and X-ray machines are all standard purchases for every setting from a large facility to a small one. However, no matter the size of the facility, patients and staff alike have come to expect a high quality level of machinery.
Medical settings such as small clinics are held to the same standards as large hospitals, but without the benefit of big budgets. With all the cutting-edge technology available in medical equipment, it makes sense that the clinics that have the best equipment can provide the best care. Good care translates into healthy budgets and healthy people. However, the cost of new machinery exceeds the budgets of most small clinics, so the best alternative is to look at buying pre-owned equipment, which can often be done for a fraction of the cost.
Buying pre-owned medical equipment has become an increasingly popular alternative to purchasing new equipment. This makes financial sense not only for the establishment of small clinics and practices, but also for larger hospitals and clinics who are trying to watch their bottom line more closely.
When pre-owned medical equipment has been refurbished properly, it can be almost as good as new, with a similar life expectancy, but selling for half, or less, of the price. However, making a mistake in your choice of vendor and/or equipment purchased can be very costly. And the cost is not just a matter of dollars--poorly functioning pre-owned medical equipment can also adversely affect lives.
Outfitting a hospital, clinic, or private practice with medical equipment is an expensive proposition, especially if new equipment is being acquired. In particular, medical settings require several kinds of ultrasound machines, and the expenses can add up to thousands upon thousands of dollars.
While large hospitals may be able to sustain the high cost of new equipment, smaller clinics and practices can find the prospect of large purchases of new ultrasound machines to be much more daunting. Fortunately, there are used machine options available instead. Many clinics or smaller practices are looking to rent or purchase used ultrasound machines, especially if they are just starting up. The savings can be enormous, from manageable, regular fee to lease to 50-70% savings for purchasing. Here are some tips on renting and buying used ultrasound machines:
The autoclave is considered to be standard equipment in most scientific laboratories. Its use, first and foremost, is to sterilize lab items and remove any contaminants. This sterilization process is best used at the beginning and end of a project or experiment. At the beginning of a project, glassware and instruments are sterilized to eliminate any contaminants. At the end of a project, the autoclave is used to sterilize any waste by-products and waste containers. Autoclaves sterilize very effectively with pressurized steam at temperatures of about 270 degrees, but this high pressure steam also can be hazardous to the operator of the autoclave. The extremely high temperatures of the autoclave that work so well to sterilize can also cause the autoclave to malfunction without proper care and use. Here are some top tips for using an autoclave safely.