Sound waves are reflected, captured and are then interpreted by a computer to produce an accurate live picture of the heart and the flow of blood on a doctors’ nearby monitor.
The machine at St John’s Hospital has different probes, which are used depending on the age and size of the patient.
As a very small child like Cian Doherty will have a far smaller heart than an adult, it is necessary to use a machine which can produce more detailed pictures of smaller organs.
While the benefits of the machine will be seen most in scans on babies and young children, other probes can be fitted to the device to give accurate pictures of larger hearts in teenagers.
Dr Nguyen and his colleagues at St John’s will use the device for diagnostic purposes in an emergency setting, while it will also be used in standard check-ups.