Everyone is aware these days about the use of ultrasound in medicine, although most people will associated ultrasound with pregnancy as every pregnant women is offered at least two baby scan as part of the NHS prenatal care. The spectrum of ultrasound imaging however today is so wide and it is not confined only in medicine but includes applications in engineering and other disciplines.
Most of the people however excluding sonographers and physicists are not aware how ultrasound was discovered and how it became such a common medical imaging procedure.
Lest take a look back in history to find out how the sound waves became the diagnostic tool used in private ultrasound clinics and hospitals all over the world today.
- 1 Who discovered Ultrasound?
- 2 Ultrasound History Timeline
- 2.0.1 Echolocation
- 2.0.2 Piezoelectricity
- 2.0.3 Hydrophone
- 2.0.4 Sonography used for Therapy
- 2.0.5 First Medical Diagnosis using Ultrasound
- 2.0.6 A-Mode Ultrasound
- 2.0.7 B-Mode Ultrasound
- 2.0.8 First Echocardiogram
- 2.0.9 Ultrasound in Ob/Gyn
- 2.0.10 Doppler Technique
- 2.0.11 CWD, Spectral and Colour Doppler
- 2.0.12 3D Ultrasound
- 2.0.13 Ultrasound in Critical Care
- 2.0.14 3D/4D
- 2.0.15 Mobile Sonography
- 3 References:
Who discovered Ultrasound?
The first paper about ultrasound was published in 1794 by Lazzaro Spallanzani an Italian physiologist and biologist who studied bats and discovered that they use sound to navigate instead of sight. This property is called echolocation and it is the foundation that governs today’s medical ultrasound.
In 1826 a Swiss physiscict name Jean Daniel Colladon used a church bell under water and discovered that sound travels faster in the water than in air.
Christian Andreas Doppler an Austrian physiscist and mathemticians discovered in 1842 that the frequency of a sound wabe dpends on the speed of the source. This principle is today known s the Doppler effect.
In 1880 Pierre Curie and his brother Jacques Curie, demonstrated the first piezoelectric effect, which the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge in response to mechanical stress, using crystals of tourmaline, quartz, topaz, cane sugar, and Rochelle salt.
Th first working sonar system in the United States ws built to detect icebergs by Reginald Fessenden in 1914. This followed by the detection of submarines in 1917 and detection of aircrafts in 1935.
The use of ultrasound in medicine was first evaluated in 1942 by Karl Theodore Dussik to diagnose brain tumours and in 1949 George Döring Ludwig, used ultrasound to detect gallstones.
The use of ultrasound in medicine accelerated and its use was established in urology and cardiac applications and in 1958, Ian Donald publishes an article in The Lancet, titled Investigation of Abdominal Masses by Pulsed Ultrasound. Donald uses ultrasound to detect abdominal tumors and cysts and later is able to detect a twin pregnancy. Ian Donald becomes the father of OB-GYN ultrasound.
Ultrasound History Timeline
You can see a detailed timeline in the history of ultrasound below.
Physicist Paul Langevin was commissioned to invent a device that detected objects at the bottom of the sea as a result of the sinking of the Titanic. He invented the hydrophone which today is perceived as the first transducer.