What are my objectives while studying this topic?

Healthcare professionals use a range of imaging techniques to diagnose illnesses or to monitor the health of an individual. By studying this topic you’ll learn about ultrasound, and why this is important as a means to diagnosing illnesses.

Why is this important?

Fitness professionals monitor people to assess their fitness to improve their performance.

Healthcare professionals use physiological measurements to monitor the health of patients, to diagnose ill health and determine a specific treatment for patients.

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following clip:

So, let’s get to it: what is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is cyclic sound pressure with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing. Although this limit varies from person to person, it is approximately 20 kilohertz (20,000 hertz) in healthy, young adults. Thus 20 kHz serves as a useful lower limit in describing ultrasound. The production of ultrasound is used in many different fields, typically to penetrate a medium and measure the reflection signature or supply focused energy.

The reflection signature can reveal details about the inner structure of the medium. The most well known application of this technique is its use in sonography to produce pictures of fetuses in the human womb. There are a vast number of other applications as well.


(Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive))

Sonogram of a fetus at 14 weeks

(Sonogram of a fetus at 14 weeks (Profile))

Bats use ultrasounds to move in the darkness

(Bats use ultrasounds to move in the darkness)


What will I be expected to be able to do after studying this topic?

  • Know the health and safety considerations to be adhered to by healthcare professionals when using the equipment to take ultrasound images

  • Describe how ultrasound is taken and the images it produces

  • Explain the principles of this technique

  • Analyse images to identify features

What are the key words to learn and use for this topic?

  • Echocardiogram

  • Ultrasound

  • Transducer

How long will this topic take to study?

On average you’ll be looking at about one hour of taught time and independent study.

What are the main activities on this topic?


Have a look at the following site; try to identify parts of the body from the images.

You’ll be looking for: deep vein thrombosis, carotids stenosis, cardiac murmurs


  • Compare how well sound travels through different media

  • Compare how sound is reflected from different surfaces

  • Link your practical work to basic principles of ultrasound process



Get into groups and take a look at this website:

You’ll need to find the following:

  • Heart ultrasound echocardiogram and associated 3-D model

  • Video of echocardiogram being performed

Now report back to the class. You’ll need to explain the following to the other groups:

  • How an ultrasound is taken and what kind of images are produced

  • The principles of this technique



Take a look at the following links.

How stuff works

Now answer these questions:

  • What is General Ultrasound Imaging?

  • What are some common uses of the procedure?

  • What does the equipment look like?

  • How does the procedure work?

  • How is the procedure performed?

  • Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

  • What are the benefits vs. risks?


Why not ask your parents to see an ultrasound image of yourself.

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