Bioeffects of ultrasound must be considered in safety evaluation

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The continued examination of potential biological effects of ultrasound and their relationship to clinical practice is a key element in evaluating the safety of diagnostic ultrasound, according to an American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) report in a recent issue of the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (JUM).

Periodically, the institute sponsors conferences to bring experts together to examine the literature on ultrasound bioeffects and to develop conclusions and recommendations related to diagnostic ultrasound, according to AIUM. The most recent effort included the examination of effects whose origins were thermal or nonthermal, with separate evaluations for potential effects related to fetal ultrasound.

“For several decades, the AIUM has been active in the evaluation of ultrasound safety through its Bioeffects Committee and special panels convened periodically to review issues related to diagnostic ultrasound…The publications associated with all of these activities have provided important guidance to the medical ultrasound community,” stated AIUM Immediate Past President Lennard D. Greenbaum, MD, in the foreword to the current report.

The report summarized the potential effects due to the introduction of ultrasound contrast agents, which can be used to assess risks in comparison to the benefits of diagnostic ultrasound.

The conclusions and recommendations were organized into five broad categories, with background and evaluation of each topic provided in the corresponding articles in this issue. The summary is not meant as a substitute for the detailed examination of issues presented in each of the articles but rather as a means to facilitate further study of this consensus report and implementation of its recommendations, according to the institute.

The conclusions and recommendations are the result of the culmination of a 2005 conference organized by the AIUM Bioeffects Committee.