The Role of Ultrasound in IVF: A Q&A With Dr. John McNaught

Posted by BK Ultrasound on Feb 27, 2012 5:09:00 AM

This is part two of an interview with Dr. John McNaught, founder and medical director of Fertility Ontario.


How do you find the auto follicle measurement tool?

I find that it helps me get through a large amount of patients at once.  If I find the decisions I’m going to make regarding follicle size are critical I will slow down and do the measurements myself but if I’m seeing somebody early in the cycle and I know they have a certain number of days of stimulation yet to go, the auto follicle cuts my time in half.  It’s important to my patients too because they’re here for blood and ultrasounds several times a week, so they want to get in and out as fast as possible.  The waiting room is generally full so if I can save time with a feature like that it makes everyone a winner.

Tell us about the Sonix DVR Function.

It’s one of my favorite features on the systems.  It enables me to record anything with the touch of a button on the screen.  From a patient standpoint, it’s a lot of fun.  One of the happiest moments we have in a fertility clinic is having that first pregnancy ultrasound.  What we are able to do is give them a USB key that has an entire video of their baby’s first heartbeat and their baby’s first movement.  In an emotionally charged situation like that, it’s really nice to be able to give somebody something that means so much to them.  I know a few people even load them on their Facebook pages.

In terms of academics, being able to transfer images onto a USB drive and incorporate them into things like PowerPoint presentations and small video clips allows me to teach a large number of students in a more traditional academic setting.  That’s something we previously weren’t able to do until we started cataloging and storing the images digitally.  The students are going to benefit from this as well.

How are you using the SonixHub at your practice?

One of the features we really enjoy about the Sonix equipment is that all our machines are linked to one central hub and that’s the SonixHub unit. The SonixMDP that we use here is connected to the Sonix hub that’s down the hall. As well, the SonixTouch systems that we use are also connected to the SonixHub. And I’m able to access that basically on any computer in the office. The Hub software stands alone on a tremendously powerful computer. It’s actually a better computer than any that we have in the office so we also use it for day-to-day purposes.

SonixHub allows us to catalog images and also results. For example I can go to any point in the thousands of patients that we have in the database, find them rather easily and then bring up their images for review. This is a pelvic ultrasound that was done just the other day and what I can do is zoom in to review, look at it image by image, and you can see that you get a wonderful picture of a retroverted uterus, really fine detail in terms of the endometrial thickness, and then when examining the ovaries you get a very nice image of the ovaries in the antral follicle state. This allows us to do dynamic imaging of the ovaries in particular parts of the menstrual cycle or the ovarian cycle and it tells us a lot about the physiologic function of a woman as it relates to her fertility. If you didn’t have high fidelity equipment you wouldn’t be able to make these sorts of calls. So it’s tremendously important that we have equipment that is first rate because if you don’t have first rate equipment you’re not going to make a first rate decision.

Is the SonixHub useful in sharing images after an exam?

The ability to review images in my office is a teaching opportunity for our medical students, our residents, and for patients. Often the exam room can be somewhat threatening so we can take them to an environment that’s more comfortable for the patient and the Hub allows us to bring the images with us. I can show patients what the issues are and discuss the steps required to address them.

I can go over images with our fellows and with our residents to look at ways they could have improved and review information that they might be missing within the image. It’s a tremendous teaching tool and I wouldn’t have it available unless we had the SonixHub.

I could be looking at these images on any computer on my network right now. I also look at them from home so on days when I’m not here I have a laptop that’s hooked up to my SonixHub and I can review images right from my dining room table. It allows me the opportunity to make sure that a technician or a student is capturing the same sorts of images that I would.

How did Sonix compare price wise?

Price point was a major issue when we started Fertility Ontario.  What we found with Sonix was a company that was right up there with the big boys but at a price point that was so much better that it sort of became a foregone conclusion.  How could you not buy that product at that price?  From an end-user standpoint it competes with or exceeds any unit out on the market.  When you look at the way it’s priced within the market, it allows me to have several machines in the office plus the SonixHub and I’m still paying less than what I would for a full-featured system from a company with a big brand name.

Topics: Reproductive Medicine

Written by BK Ultrasound