Publications & Reports

Portable ultrasound technologies for estimating gestational age in pregnant women: a scoping review and analysis of commercially available models.

Eggleston AJ, Farrington E, McDonald S, Aziz S
Global Women's and Newborn's Health Group, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia [email protected]


OBJECTIVES: To identify all available studies assessing the use of portable ultrasound devices for pregnant women, with the specific aim of finding evidence for devices used to determine gestational age and their validity when compared with conventional ultrasound machines. We also wanted to determine what portable ultrasound models are commercially available for obstetric use. DESIGN: Systematic scoping review. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Extracted variables included study design, population, method of ultrasound measurement, devices used and whether studies formally validated accuracy against conventional ultrasound. RESULTS: We searched four databases-Medline, Embase, CINAHL and Maternal and Infant Care. In total 56 studies from 34 countries were identified; most were observational studies. Across all studies, 27 different portable ultrasound models (from 17 manufacturers) were evaluated. Twenty-one studies assessed use of portable ultrasound for evaluating fetal characteristics or estimating gestational age, and 10 of these were formal validation studies. In total, six portable devices have been validated for gestational age estimation against a conventional ultrasound comparator. The web searches identified 102 portable devices (21 manufacturers). These were a mix of handheld devices that connected to a phone or computer, or laptop-style portable ultrasound devices. Prices ranged from US$1190 to US$30 000 and weight ranged from 0.9 kg to 13.0 kg. CONCLUSION: While the number of commercially available portable ultrasound devices continues to grow, there remains a lack of peer-reviewed, quality evidence demonstrating their accuracy and validity when compared with conventional ultrasound machines. This review identified some models that may be useful in gestational age estimation in low-resource settings, but more research is required to help implement the technology at scale. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Registered via Open Science Framework (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/U8KXP).

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: BMJ Open
  • Published: 30/11/2022
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 11
  • Pagination: e065181