The AX8 is a medium to high end colour Doppler ultrasound system. Here, we review some of its more unique features, and how to optimise and use them.
Edan have made the entire keypad area into a touchscreen, which, unlike competitor systems like the Sonoscape S9, even includes a touchscreen roller ball. “Using a trackpad instead of a trackball helps makes [sic] the system easier to clean as the area around the track pad is completely sealed,” state the manufacturer. Use of a track pad is also more versatile for a number of reasons. Edan rather amusingly state that their system “supports multi-finger gestures,” but what they mean is that the track pad can do more than just be used to navigate around the page: it can be ‘pinched’ inwards and outwards to zoom in and out on the 2D image, or in Colour Doppler mode, to resize the region of interest (which can be made small enough to achieve a relatively high colour frame rate, offering a vast improvement on the Edan U50 or U2PE where the colour box can hardly be resized); it can be swiped along the top to adjust the primary sliding control, which, in most live imaging modes, is overall gain.
The top right of the track pad is the ‘set’ button, which is the equivalent of a left click on a mouse, whereas the top left ‘enter’ button is equivalent to ‘enter’ on a PC keyboard or a double click on a mouse. This is a little different from other manufacturers, like Sonoscape, Chison or Siui, for whom ‘set’ is the closest equivalent to ‘enter’ on a PC.
The AX8’s lithium ion battery provides approximately 60 minutes of use, according to the manufacturer. This means it really is a backup battery only – the AX8 is not the ideal system for truly portable scanning. In the practice environment, however, about the only time a battery is useful is if the machine is being transferred between consultation rooms.
If the machine is going to be out of use for several months, Edan recommend that you remove the battery and store it separately. This can be done by placing the machine face-down, sliding the battery unlock button, and lifting the battery compartment, as shown below:
Control panel of AX8:
‘Alt Store,’ ‘Store 1’ and ‘Store 2’ can all be configured to store either images or clips. Similarly, F1 and F2 are customisable.
‘D’ allows you to see a sample line, allowing you to align your Doppler or M-mode line before you leave B-mode, taking advantage of the larger imaging area for optimal placement.
Customising the touch screen
Just as with an iPhone or iPad, by pressing and holding any control on the touchscreen, you enter into customisation mode where you are able to move or hide controls.
Dragging one control on top of another will create a folder, into which both controls will be placed. Dragging a control to the edge of the screen will move that control to the next page. The number of pages is indicated by dots at the top of the touchscreen, with the active page indicated by a filled in dot.
Remember that these customisations are saved by the system and recalled across different exam types. If you are not the only user of the ultrasound system, you may wish to perform such customisation together with your colleagues, to avoid a colleague unwittingly using the machine another day and finding that they cannot find one of the controls! The only tabs which are not generic across all exam types are comments, body marks, and measurements.
Starting an exam
Pressing the ‘Patient’ button will bring up the new patient information screen, unless a previous exam is still active. If a previous exam is still active, a dialogue will open, prompting you to end or continue the current exam, or start a new exam. You can also select the “same patient” checkbox, to start a new exam under that same patient’s information. If you do not select this box, the system will assume that it is a new patient and bring you to the new patient information screen.
Do you own an Edan AX8? Wherever you are in the world, we can offer basic or advanced training (including echocardiography) on your machine. Just contact us here and let us know your requirements.