Point-of-care ultrasound use in the pre-hospital setting

In the pre-hospital setting, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a useful diagnostic tool that can provide additional clinical information to assist with pre-hospital management strategies and choice of hospital destination. Studies describing the clinical utility of paramedic-performed POCUS in the pre-hospital setting are lacking; however with the right training and education, paramedics are able to adequately obtain high-quality ultrasound images. Despite this, education programmes vary widely and a standardised approach is yet to be defined. The technology of ultrasound devices continues to evolve and in future, the transmission of ultrasound images to the receiving hospital should be a minimum requirement. While some studies report that POCUS influences pre-hospital management, data are lacking as to whether this improves patient outcomes. The authors have demonstrated the potentially significant role of POCUS in pre-hospital care; however this assessment modality does not replace physical examination, clinical experience and clinical decision-making.

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