Portable ultrasound in disaster triage: a focused review

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2016 Apr;42(2):151-9. doi: 10.1007/s00068-015-0498-8. Epub 2015 Feb 11.


Ultrasound technology has become ubiquitous in modern medicine. Its applications span the assessment of life-threatening trauma or hemodynamic conditions, to elective procedures such as image-guided peripheral nerve blocks. Sonographers have utilized ultrasound techniques in the pre-hospital setting, emergency departments, operating rooms, intensive care units, outpatient clinics, as well as during mass casualty and disaster management. Currently available ultrasound devices are more affordable, portable, and feature user-friendly interfaces, making them well suited for use in the demanding situation of a mass casualty incident (MCI) or disaster triage. We have reviewed the existing literature regarding the application of sonology in MCI and disaster scenarios, focusing on the most promising and practical ultrasound-based paradigms applicable in these settings.

Keywords: CAVEAT protocol; Disaster management; Mass casualty incident; Triage; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems / organization & administration
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Humans
  • Mass Casualty Incidents*
  • Mobile Applications
  • Point-of-Care Systems / trends*
  • Triage* / methods
  • Triage* / organization & administration
  • Ultrasonography* / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography* / methods
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnostic imaging