Knowledge of safety, training, and practice of neonatal cranial ultrasound: A survey of operators

Assema Lalzad, Flora Wong, Nabita Singh, Peter Coombs, Cain Brockley, Sonja Brennan, Michael Ditchfield, Padma Rao, Andrew Watkins, Virginia Saxton, Michal Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives—Ultrasound can lead to thermal and mechanical effects in interrogated tissues. This possibility suggests a potential risk during neonatal cranial ultrasound examinations. The aim of this study was to explore safety knowledge and training of neonatal cranial ultrasound among Australian operators who routinely perform these scans. Methods—An online survey was administered on biosafety and training in neonatal cranial ultrasound, targeting all relevant professionals who can perform neonatal cranial ultrasound examinations in Australia: namely, radiologists, neonatologists, sonographers, and pediatricians. The survey was conducted between November 2013 and May 2014. Results—A total of 282 responses were received. Twenty of 208 (10%) answered all ultrasound biosafety questions correctly, and 49 of 169 (29%) correctly defined the thermal index. Two-thirds (134 of 214 [63%]) of respondents failed to recognize that reducing the overall scanning time is the most effective method of reducing the total power exposure. Only 13% (31 of 237) indicated that a predetermined fixed period of training or that a specified minimum number of supervised scans was used during training. The reported number of supervised scans during training was highly variable. Almost half of the participants (82 of 181 [45%]) stated that they had received supervision for 10 to 50 scans (median, 20 scans). Conclusions—There is a need to educate operators on biosafety issues and approaches to minimize power outputs and reduce the overall duration of cranial ultrasound scans. Development of standardized training requirements may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1421
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Bioeffects
  • Cranial ultrasound
  • Neonatal brain
  • Neurosonology (pediatric)
  • Output display standards
  • Thermal index
  • Ultrasound safety

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