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Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2012 Jul-Aug;53(4):459-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8261.2012.01942.x. Epub 2012 Jun 25.

Evaluation of ergonomic risk factors among veterinary ultrasonographers.

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Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1681, USA.


Between 65% and 91% of human-patient sonographers report musculoskeletal symptoms related to their work activities. Ergonomic risk factors associated with musculoskeletal symptoms and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) include force, repetition, and awkward postures of the upper extremities. We hypothesized that veterinary sonographers experience similar risk factor exposures as their colleagues in human-patient sonography, and that work-related exposures may lead to similar prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography published MSD prevention guidelines in 2003. Similar guidance for sonographers examining animal patients does not exist. This cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among veterinary sonographers and identify reported risk factors. A 59-item survey questionnaire was administered via email to veterinary specialists likely to perform ultrasound. Musculoskeletal pain related to performing ultrasound exams was reported by 62% of the respondents. Musculoskeletal symptoms were significantly associated with female gender (odds ratio [OR], 4.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.04-10.19), age (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01, 1.10), previous work-related trauma (OR, 6.86; 95% CI, 1.71, 27.40), not consistently using a normal height chair (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.19, 5.80), and 15°-45° abduction of shoulder (OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.11, 4.92) . It was concluded that the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among veterinary sonographers was similar to that occurring in human-patient sonographers.

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