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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Specialty

Emergency Medicine

Advisor

Dr Colletti

Abstract

In a variety of medical settings, there is an increase in the utilization of bedside ultrasound (US), also known as point of care ultrasound (POCUS). Providers in emergency departments (ED), intensive care units (ICU), primary care and many other specialties are realizing the benefit of having this tool at the bedside or office to effectively guide and direct medical management and treatment. POCUS is now in the hands of thousands of providers worldwide, making it a strong rival to the stethoscope. POCUS is a well-established bedside diagnostic tool, heavily utilized in emergency medicine to rapidly assess life-threatening conditions. Quick scans such as the Rapid Ultrasound for Shock and Hypotension (RUSH), exam or Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST), can direct and guide critical medical management. Other specialties, such as obstetrics/gynecology, cardiology, and vascular surgery have employed this technology successfully.1 Over the years however, POCUS has revolutionized the practice of medicine in a variety of settings including primary care and obstetrics.2 From procedural guidance to annual physical examinations to teaching anatomy in medical institutions,3 US technology is available to most medical providers. Will this be the new standard of care in patient assessment? Will the handheld ultrasound become an essential adjunct tool to the trusted and quintessential stethoscope? Although there is some skepticism among credentialing bodies and medical veterans, multiple medical training institutions have begun incorporating this tool into their medical curriculum. The focus of this article is to review the history of POCUS, its applications and utility in a variety of settings, training, portable handheld devices, and comparing it with the time-honored stethoscope.

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