Physician: Johan Sellgren, MD, PhD
Facility: Sahlgrenska University Hospital Goteborg, Sweden
Featured Product: TEE Positioning System
Q. How did you become interested in the ultrasound field and how did it lead you to this career choice?
A. For me, as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist and intensive care physician, transesophageal (TEE) has been an important tool for diagnosing and monitoring heart function for many years.
Q. How did you come to the idea to invent the TEE Positioning System? What clinical inconveniences did you have that initiated collaborative development of the device?
A. During anesthesia for cardiac surgery, there is an obvious need to “park” the TEE probe maneuver handle when you are not actively monitoring by holding the handle. The TEE Positioning System solves this problem since the system allows you to “park” the TEE probe in a position where you can still monitor the heart without physically holding the TEE probe for the duration of the surgery.
This is very useful especially when monitoring myocardial contractility in the transgastric short-axis view. An example would be when you are weaning the patient from cardiopulmonary bypass. Furthermore, the TEE Positioning System has the advantage of protecting the TEE probe from damage. It also protects the patient’s mouth from TEE probe stretching since the system is very adjustable in both height and angle.
Q. What procedures do you most commonly perform when using the TEE Positioning System? How often are these procedures performed in your facility?
A. The TEE Positioning System is used as a routine device during every cardiac surgical procedure in our department. In addition, we mount the blood pressure transducers to the vertical part of the pole, which makes the system even more versatile.
Q. Describe your role in your Ultrasound department. How does the role allow you to educate others?
A. I am the senior physician in the department dividing my clinical time between the OR unit and the cardiothoracic intensive care unit. Our department in Sahlgrenska University Hospital performs 1,100 open-heart surgical operations and about 80 heart/lung transplantations every year. We also run active research and training programs for trainees.
Q. Describe a time where the TEE Positioning System helped you avoid or reduce clinical challenges or complications.
A. Compared with the time before we had a positioning system, it is now possible to continuously monitor the myocardial function during the entire operation, when you are not holding the probe. This system has established best practice guidelines in our department so that no one will work without the positioning system.
Q. What advice would you offer those who are just entering the profession? Where do you think the future of cardiac ultrasound is going?
A. My advice to young professionals in anesthesia and intensive care is to learn more about TEE, which is already used more and more during other procedures other than cardiac surgery. The TEE option should be available in every OR with major surgery and patients with cardiovascular diseases. In those cases, there is also need for a TEE positioning system.