Review Article

Point-of-Care Ultrasound Applications in the Outpatient Clinic

Authors: Michael Wagner, MD, Joy Shen-Wagner, MD, Kang X. Zhang, MD, Timothy Flynn, DO, Kevin Bergman, MD

Abstract

Although the use of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is well established in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit, the use of POCUS in the outpatient clinic setting is still emerging. General practitioners and specialists alike have increasing access to smaller and less expensive US devices that can assist in making timely diagnoses, guiding procedures, and monitoring patients. In this case-based review, we highlight some of the literature on simple-to-apply POCUS applications relevant to ambulatory medicine. The topics discussed include detecting left ventricular systolic dysfunction, ascites, gallstones, and Achilles tendon tears, as well as distinguishing abscess from cellulitis. Although a robust literature surrounds POCUS use in EDs, literature is limited regarding POCUS in the ambulatory setting; however, the literature supports general practitioners learning this skill set to the benefit of their patients. As POCUS moves out of hospital EDs and into the clinics, high-quality research demonstrating comparable accuracy and utility will be needed.

 

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