Focused cardiac ultrasound in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a literature review

Focused cardiac ultrasound (FoCUS) is emerging in emergency medical systems, particularly in the context of prognostication in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. However, FoCUS has not been formally incorporated into UK guidelines because of a lack of evidence. Furthermore, concerns have been raised that FoCUS can distract people from providing other essential and evidenced elements of care. This broad literature search aims to shed light on the practice of FoCUS in cardiac arrest by reviewing articles related to in-hospital and out-of-hospital practice. The findings are conspicuous by the lack of high-quality studies, particularly regarding prognostication. Association between ultrasound findings and outcome are asserted, as is the feasibility of paramedic use of FoCUS, although the evidence is from small and non-randomised studies and subject to bias.

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