LAUREL, MD - The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), an organization that advocates the safe and responsible use of diagnostic ultrasound, is reaffirming its opposition to the use of ultrasound for nonmedical purposes.

As the popularity of businesses that use ultrasound to provide nonmedical fetal keepsake videos and or prenatal portraits to expectant parents continues to rise, the AIUM stands behind its official statement on the “Prudent Use” of ultrasound, which states:

“The AIUM advocates the responsible use of diagnostic ultrasound. The AIUM strongly discourages the nonmedical use of ultrasound for psychosocial or entertainment purposes. The use of either 2-dimensional (2D) or 3-dimensional (3D) ultrasound to only view the fetus, obtain a picture of the fetus or determine the fetal gender without a medical indication is inappropriate and contrary to responsible medical practice. Although there are no confirmed biological effects on patients caused by exposures from present diagnostic ultrasound instruments, the possibility exists that such biological effects may be identified in the future. Thus ultrasound should be used in a prudent manner to provide medical benefit to the patient.”

The AIUM held a special summit in June 2003 to address the issues concerning entertainment ultrasound. As a result of this summit, several organizations including the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound (SRU), and the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS), have officially endorsed the AIUM’s official statement on the prudent use of ultrasound. The AIUM will continue to work with these medical societies, as well as with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help put a stop to the misuse of ultrasound.

The FDA also supports the AIUM’s official statement on the prudent use of ultrasound and has warned that “persons who promote, sell, or lease ultrasound equipment for making keepsake fetal videos should know that the FDA views this as an unapproved use of a medical device.” (The FDA’s statement on “Fetal Keepsake Videos” can be viewed in its entirety at (http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/fetalvideos.html.)

“The AIUM’s first concern is safety. The amount of time required to produce a prenatal portrait that is visually appealing to the expectant parent can take upwards of an hour or more to produce, thus creating unnecessary exposure to the fetus,” said AIUM President Lewis Nelson, III, MD, RDMS.

“In addition, many of the personnel performing entertainment sonograms are unskilled and have not been through the certification process. Patients run the risk of being given inaccurate findings that may cause them to undergo unnecessary follow-up tests, or even worse, they might misinterpret the session as a medical examination and leave the session with a false sense of security.”

For more information about the inappropriate use of ultrasound for entertainment purposes, visit the AIUM website at under “patient information.”

The AIUM, a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of ultrasound in medicine and research through its educational, scientific, literary, and professional activities, has been able to promote the safe and effective use of ultrasound in clinical medicine for more than 50 years.

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