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June 11, 2012

New mobile app helps give neonatologists the full picture

TORONTO – A first-of-its-kind mobile application is giving neonatologists quick and reliable guidance when undertaking cardiac assessments on newborns.

Developers Dr. Patrick McNamara from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Dr. Afif EL-Khuffash, from Mount Sinai Hospital describe the application as a portable reference guide. It’s designed for staff and trainee neonatologists who are performing Targeted Neonatal Echocardiography (TnECHO), ultrasounds on the hearts of newborns that aid in clinical diagnosis.

“As a test, TnECHO is transforming our approach to neonatal care,” says McNamara. “It gives us more accurate information and empowers us to make the right clinical decisions for our newborn patients, faster.”

TnECHO provides real-time information on the performance and function of the cardiovascular system and provides more insight than clinical signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure that neonatologists have traditionally relied on.

The TnECHO app will help neonatologists around the world to perform this important test and is available free from iTunes.

McNamara and El-Khuffash noticed a need for a more portable reference guide while working in their own practice. “We were relying on heavy and expensive reference books and CD-ROMs to help us perform echocardiography because those were the only thing available,” says EL-Khuffash. “It didn’t allow for easy point-of-care assessments. We needed something mobile, but comprehensive.”

They stress that the app is to be used in conjunction with formal echocardiography training. “With the app, neonatologists can quickly reference the steps to obtain the right ultrasound images and information to guide them in their cardiac assessment,” says McNamara.

The TnECHO app will also allow neonatologists to easily keep up to date with the latest echocardiography practices by downloading updates directly to their mobile device.

“This new application is one of many important tools invented here at SickKids that is impacting children’s health globally,” says Arlene Yee, Director, Industry Partnerships & Commercialization at SickKids. “Helping bring this idea to a reality and sharing this application with the world is another example of the incredible support SickKids provides to its innovators and inventors.”

The echocardiography training and clinical guidelines which the TnECHO app is based on were developed by Dr. Luc Mertens, a cardiologist at SickKids, with McNamara and other international experts within the field. A plan is underway to expand the application to help aid in other newborn assessments.

Development of the app was funded by IKARIA.  

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized child and family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. Follow us on Twitter (@SickKidsNews) and Instagram (@SickKidsToronto).

For more information, please contact:

Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
email: matet.nebres@sickkids.ca

Caitlin McNamee-Lamb
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 1436
email: caitlin.mcnamee-lamb@sickkids.ca