Whole-body ultrasound in the intensive care unit: a new role for an aged technique

J Crit Care. 2010 Sep;25(3):509-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Sep 24.


Management of critically ill patients requires rapid and safe diagnostic techniques. Ultrasonography has become an indispensable tool that supplements physical examination in the intensive care unit. It enables early recognition of neurological emergencies, assists the diagnosis of abdominal and lung pathologies, and provides real-time information on the cardiac performance of critically ill patients. Furthermore, it detects possible infectious sites and renders therapeutic invasive procedures more convenient and less complicated. Whole-body ultrasound in the hands of adequately trained intensivists has the ability to reinvigorate the physical examination, without subjecting the patient to excessive irradiation and the risks of transport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods