A RECENTLY introduced piece of equipment is set to revolutionise how air ambulance crews work.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) recently introduced a Butterfly ultrasound scanner which, the service claims, has been proven to offer a better clinical insight into a patient’s condition.

The benefits of the new scanner were that it was cheaper than the old technology, was simpler to use and gave paramedics a more clear picture of the patient’s conditions.

Lee Salmon, a paramedic at GNAAS, said: “The introduction hasn’t changed the way we work yet, but it definitely will.

“We can be more clinically certain of what is going in with the patient’s physiology.

“Using this piece of equipment could absolutely mean the difference between life and death.

“Identifying a cardiac tamponade – a build-up of fluid in the space between the heart and its sac – is essentially like identifying a ticking bomb that could go off in one minute or 30 seconds.

“We have already had one survivor due to the correct identification of a conscious patient who had a cardiac tamponade.

“He had open-heart surgery which was done by me and another doctor. The patient is now out of hospital and back at home.”

The Butterfly scanner cost in the region of £2,000, and connects to an iPad Mini.