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Point-of-care and lung ultrasound incorporated in daily practice

E Neethling
F Roodt
C Beck
J.L.C. Swanevelder


Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a fast-growing clinical utility and is becoming an essential clinical skill for all practitioners attending to critically ill patients. Ultrasound equipment is now smaller, more affordable and readily available in clinical work areas. POCUS is performed by a non-cardiologist physician at the patient’s bedside as an adjunct to the physical examination. It is easily taught, non-invasive and allows for real-time clinical information. Bedside use of ultrasound imaging aids with rapid diagnosis of severe and life-threatening pathological conditions. It can be repeated, may change clinical management, and impact on patient outcome. POCUS has a broad clinical use, including, but not limited to, focused assessed transthoracic echocardiography (FATE), lung ultrasound imaging, extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma (e-FAST), vascular access and regional blocks. It may also be extended to detect endotracheal intubation and the estimation of intracranial pressure. Assessment of cardiac pathology by POCUS, performed by a novice examiner, has been shown to compare with the gold standard of an expert. Training is paramount. The physician should know his limitations and always relate the information back to the clinical scenario and context. By incorporating POCUS as part of our armamentarium and into our daily medical practice, we might see it reach its full clinical potential, optimising patient care and improving patient outcomes.