Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Austere Environments

With the advent of portable ultrasound machines, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has proven to be adaptable to a myriad of environments, including remote and austere settings, where other imaging modalities cannot be carried. Austere environments continue to pose special challenges to ultrasound equipment, but advances in equipment design and environment-specific care allow for its successful use. This article describes the technique and illustrates pathology of common POCUS applications in austere environments. A brief description of common POCUS-guided procedures used in austere environments is also provided.

Key points

  • Ultrasound systems must be handheld, battery operated, durable, and able to withstand extremes of temperature and altitude, while additional equipment may be necessary to help prevent battery degradation and equipment damage.

  • Point-of-care ultrasound is portable and lightweight, and can be used to screen for a wide variety of pathology and injury common to austere environments, disaster situations, and resource-limited settings.

  • Common point-of-care ultrasound applications used in austere environments include the Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma, musculoskeletal and soft tissue injury, high-altitude pulmonary edema, high-altitude cerebral edema, pneumonia, volume status, and various procedural guidance applications.

  • The various point-of-care applications used in austere environments for procedural guidance include peripheral vascular access, nerve blocks for pain control, foreign body removal, and abscess drainage.

  • Point-of-care ultrasound is a reliable tool to assist in triage, resource allocation decisions, and screening for conditions common in austere environments.

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Dec 13, 2017 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Austere Environments

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