Reassessment of teratogenic risk from prenatal ultrasound

Reassessment of teratogenic risk from prenatal ultrasound

http://link.springer.com/article/10.2478%2Fs13380-013-0112-7

In this paper, Dr. Manuel F. Casanova (referenced in an earlier post) and Emily Williams review side effects and shortcomings in ultrasound safety regulation.

It’s pretty point on.

For those just joining us – a teratogen is something, like a chemical or environmental exposure that can affect fetal development. You know, like alcohol use during pregnancy.

Historically, the FDA has allowed several things through the nets into widespread circulation that had serious side effects. Thalidomide, X-Ray for fetal scanning, among other things.

There are many side effects of ultrasound that appear harmful on a small scale, but how they affect development has not been rigorously studied.  There are, however, a great many deficits in safety regulations surrounding ultrasound that need to be addressed.  For example…

1. Ultrasound machines are not required by law to be upkept.  Old equipment becomes defective, leading to worse pictures.  Worse pictures means more ultrasound must be used for a good image.

2. There are no limits to the number of scans allowed to be prescribed.  This, in essence, rewards practitioners to believe ultrasound is not risky because of high healthcare costs.  Each scan can be a $1000~ payout, for only a few cents of KY Jelly.  …and a nurse can do it, since it is legal for unspecialized people to perform ultrasounds.

3. Practitioners do not record how much ultrasound is used, so proper dose-based risk assessment cannot be performed using modern intensities.

And many more …

*note: the calf in the picture is not two headed because of ultrasound.

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