Dr. Tom Colletti, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has become part of the standard of care for trauma patients during their initial hospital-based care. With ultrasound technology advancement there are numerous commercially available ultrasound devices that are handheld and portable, allowing for use in a mobile or austere environment. With this advancement in technology and the ever-increasing use of POCUS in hospital-based emergency medicine, emergency medical services (EMS) have begun implementing POCUS into patients' prehospital care. As in hospital-based care, many EMS systems have initially used POCUS to assess and manage trauma patients. With this increasing use of ultrasound in prehospital systems there is a growing body of literature examining the potential uses of ultrasound and their impact on patient care. This review provides an overview of the evidence relating to the benefits of prehospital ultrasound in U.S.-based EMS systems during the management of trauma patients. Evidence indicates that prehospital POCUS can impact the management of trauma patients by expediting the patient’s arrival to the operating room, earlier use of blood products for internal hemorrhage, and procedural guidance. There is also a growing body of evidence supporting the use of POCUS to guide care and triage in non-traditional care settings such as military/austere environments, tactical medicine, and air medical transport. Most of the available research on this topic has been observational and is limited in scope. No studies evaluate the impact of prehospital ultrasound on the overall mortality or morbidity of trauma patients. There are many opportunities for future research to assess the impact of a prehospital ultrasound program might on the overall treatment and management of trauma patients.
Almand J. Impact of Prehospital Ultrasound on the Management of Trauma Patients. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2023; 5(2).
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